Master OpenVPN: OpenVPN 2 Cookbook Review

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OpenVPN 2 Cookbook ReviewFor those of you that are technically minded or keen on learning the inner workings of VPNs, we are  reviewing today a new OpenVPN book: OpenVPN 2 Cookbook.

We have always considered OpenVPN as one of the best vpn protocols, with amazing stability, flexibility and capability to work in most environments.

OpenVPN is an SSL/TLS VPN, one of the fastest types of vpn, and we have previously published a blog post comparing OpenVPN with PPTP. Peers authentication can happen via pre-shared keys, certificates or username/password (as TuVPN does) and the official port in which it will be running , the only one that needs to be allowed for it to work, is 1194 UDP (although you can change it to work on any other port, i.e. 443 TCP, as we do, making it work anywhere compatible with HTTPS).

In OpenVPN 2 Cookbook you will not find OpenVPN basics, but +100 recipes that will take your knowledge about OpenVPN to a new level, all in an extremely practical way.

There is an extensive range of topics, from Point-to-Point Networks, PKI, Certificates and OpenSSL to OS Integration. We will just go quickly over what we have found to be the most interesting and innovative chapters of this book and the ones that have taken our already extensive experience with OpenVPN a step further.

Chapter 2: Client-server IP-only Networks

This chapter gives very interesting information on a topic that can offer certain complexities sometimes: how to route subnets on both sides of the OpenVPN tunnel.

OpenVPN offers enormous flexibility in this sense, but you need to know how to correctly use the route and iroute options in the  server configuration and client configuration files respectively. Also it is important to correctly inform the devices on each of the subnets on how to reach the other subnet IP ranges through the OpenVPN tunnel (setting thus the OpenVPN server as a gateway for these ranges).

All of this is covered in great detail and with illustrative examples that can save loads of time if you are new to all of this.

Chapter 5: Two-factor Authentication with PKCS#11

This is again an extremely interesting topic, not usually seen in OpenVPN books.

It  explains in detail which token devices options we have (focusing on the Aladin eToken Pro USB), how to initialize them, how to copy the private key and certificate to them and how to use them.

So we are taken, step by step, through the process of creating an extremely secure VPN infrastructure protected by two-factor authentication that we can use in the most security conscious environments.

Chapter 9: Performance Tuning

Finally I wanted to highlight another chapter containing some hidden gems. This chapter deals about how to increase performance on your OpenVPN network.

First of all, it explains how to measure current performance via tools like ping, tcpdump and iperf. Then we are taken on an extremely interesting test of cipher performance (Blowfish, AES-128 and AES-256 are analysed) and finally we learn about the use of compression and fine tuning of both UDP and TCP connections.


All in all, OpenVPN 2 Cookbook is a very valuable tool for system administrators and OpenVPN advanced users who want to discover and apply what is beyond the basics of OpenVPN administration and move their VPN networks to the next level. So… it is a perfect book for us! :D


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One Response to “Master OpenVPN: OpenVPN 2 Cookbook Review”

  1. tim Says:

    Good book thanks for sharing

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