What are the major differences between Cisco Anyconnect and Cisco IPSEC VPN clients?

From a users perspective it’s almost just a different way to do the same thing.  The major differences to a company considering the move to AnyConnect would be:

  1. The licensing fees.  The security IOS that runs on routers we sell customers generally includes IPSec VPN clients.  The AnyConnect has separate licensing fees through Cisco.  Some equipment includes licenses, others do not (it’s hardware specific).  So there is usually an additional cost associated with the AnyConnect VPN Client.
  2. AnyConnect runs on port 443 so many firewalls will not interfere with traffic on AnyConect vs an IPSEC software VPN.  Often users firewalls will block IPSEC traffic or interfere with it (home users firewalls, Barnes and Nobles, Cell card firewalls, etc)
  3. The AnyConnect can be launched from a web page on the router.  This allows for ease of deployment.
  4. AnyConnect reportedly uses more processing power and systems resources to establish the connection.  This is usually no big deal because you are actually using it on a quicker, newer machine running a 64 Bit OS.
  5. Ease of administration (this could go either way).  Sometimes Eclipse WAN support has had calls around a corrupt install of the VPN client.  We haven’t really had any client troubles yet with AnyConnect although it’s fairly new.
  6. The Install package is a lot smaller for AnyConnect.
  7. There is support for different Operating Systems using the Cisco AnyConnect  please see http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/vpndevc/ps6032/ps6094/ps6120/data_sheet_c78-527494.html
  8. According to Cisco’s documentation they state “Only 32-bit Windows support is available in the Cisco VPN Client. For 64-bit (x64) Windows support, customers must upgrade to the next-generation Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.”  Cisco has recently deployed a beta version of the 64 bit IPSEC client for Windows 7 users.  Whether or not they will support it in the future remains to be seen.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns and you are on a network maintenance plan with Eclipse Systems support please open a support request at http://distribution.activant.com/eclipse-support/.  Alternatively you can call 508-778-9151 for further information.