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IPSec Road Warrior Configuration: Android, Windows 7, BB10, PlayBook Clients

For an overview over all existing Virtual private network (VPN)-related articles in the OpenWrt wiki, please visit vpn.overview

:!: This page is about strongswan. The old racoon documentation can be found here.

Most of the racoon information is relevant (sort-of).

The basic context of the "road warrior" configuration:

  1. Your OpenWrt router is the HOST or gateway that receives requests to connect from mobile users, or clients.
  2. The clients have a dynamically assigned (private) IP outside your private net which changes.
  3. The clients frequently move around.
  4. The clients require access to both internal and external resources (full tunnel support) through a "gateway".

Examples would be a phone or laptop that wants to VPN into a home network. Note that Strongswan's IKEv2 with MOBIKE lets you leave VPN up ALL the time on a phone with near zero battery drain or perceptible performance hit. The benefits of this cannot be overstated for the roadwarrior.

This configuration uses TWO authentication mechanisms: certificates and a username/password challenge (EAP) for an added layer of security. This is an IKEv2 setup. Everything else in my opinion is obsolete and should not be used. IKEv2 is built-in to Windows 7 and Blackberry. It's added to Android using the Strongswan client.


  • Supported version of OpenWrt (opkg will complain about kernel version if not).
  • Strongswan-Full 5.x.x (tested to 5.0.4-1 as explained, and to 5.1.1-1 with some slight config modifications)
  • OpenSSL (to make the .p12 or PKCS#12 package you distribute to clients)

Tested on OpenWrt Barrier Breaker r37092-r39879 on WNDR3700v2. (Strongswan did not install on 34054 for me).

To make sure Strongswan runs, you can type /etc/init.d/ipsec start

For testing, you will want to run logread in a scrolling window as follows:

logread && logread -f

We're going to edit the following:

  • /etc/strongswan.conf: Strongswan configuration file
  • /etc/ipsec.conf: Tunnel definitions
  • /etc/ipsec.secrets: List of secrets and keys
  • /etc/ipsec.d: Folder for certificates
  • /etc/config/firewall: Firewall changes to allow VPN traffic


charon {
        threads = 16
        dns1 =
        nbns1 =
pluto {

libstrongswan {
        crypto_test {
                on_add = yes
Starting with StrongSwan 5.1.1 (or perhaps earlier), you may find that charon plugins are not loading dynamically. If you find this to be true (or its just not working, which you can spot by changing charondebug in ipsec.conf), try explicitly telling charon which plugins you want by adding "load = …" to charon like this:

charon {
load = aes des sha1 sha2 md5 pem pkcs1 gmp random nonce x509 revocation hmac stroke kernel-netlink socket-default updown attr farp dhcp
The above issue seems to have been resolved in 5.1.2 according to the Wiki here. charon is the IKEv2 daemon. pluto is the IKEv1 daemon which we won't use. Replace the IP addresses with the appropriate values for your INTERNAL network. In this and other examples, I expect your private internal network to be "dns1" entry tells charon (the IKEv2 service) where to go for dns - typically the openwrt host. "nbns1" entry tells charon where to go for netbios name services if you want to use windows file sharing.

Note that the crypto_test option for libstrongswan is added to tell Strongswan to test its crypto algorithms on initialization. You can read more here:


Note that this is a certificate-based configuration with an additional username/password challenge. It REQUIRES you to put certificates on the server and clients, as well as have clients supply username and password.

config setup

conn %default

conn roadwarrior
Explanation: The notion of "left" and "right" is explained in the strongswan documentation, but briefly, "left" here is the "Local" (Left = Local) or private net you want access to, and "right" is the "Remote" (Right = Remote) or client side.

  • The config setup block is needed but can be empty
  • The conn %default block provides default settings if you plan on adding more profiles.
  • conn roadwarrior is our roadwarrior configuration.
  • leftauth = pubkey tells the host to use certificates.
  • leftid = the FQDN you put in the cert as subjectAltName (see "–san" option when you make your certs below). Note that it could be anything as long as it matches. Use of dyndns (in example) is advised if your gateway is also assigned a dynamic address.
  • leftsubnet = the scope of VPN. is a full tunnel, meaning ALL traffic will go through the VPN. You can put if you want your client to use the VPN to reach ONLY those addresses and your private net is The full tunnel option is more secure because it prevents a client from acting as a bridge.
  • right = %any - lets any peer IP connect. (remote user)
  • rightsourceIP = The pool of internal addresses to use for the VPN clients. Note that if you have only ONE client connecting, you could use as an example, which means that only 1 host can connect and it will be given the address You may want to assign IPs from a subnet which doesn't overlap neither your home nor your guest's LAN.
  • rightcert = the cert the client needs
  • rightauth = pubkey Tells the client to use certificates.
  • rightauth2 = eap-mschapv2 tells the client to use a second challenge: username and password.
  • esp and ike specify the cipher suites, and the dh group which is required for PFS.NOTE: While Pfs has depreciated, PFS with a strong algorithm is considered secure (4096+), it may be breakable by the NSA if that's a concern please consider Open VPN, however there is no perfect solution for the Pfs vulnerability at the time of editing (24AUG16)

If you want to issue personal certificates to your clients then you should verify the signing CA's identity instead of the client certificates itself. To achieve this, use the rightca directive instead of rightcert. More information on this: strongSwan documentation


: RSA serverKey.pem
remoteusername : EAP "secretpassword"
The first line defines the key to use and the second line is for the username/password challenge (EAP). Replace remoteusername and secretpassword with the values you want.

Making Keys

To make keys, run this script:

ipsec pki --gen --outform pem > caKey.pem
ipsec pki --self --in caKey.pem --dn "C=US, O=xxx, CN=xxxx" --ca --outform pem > caCert.pem
ipsec pki --gen --outform pem > serverKey.pem
ipsec pki --pub --in serverKey.pem | ipsec pki --issue --cacert caCert.pem --cakey caKey.pem --dn "C=US, O=xxx," --san="" --flag serverAuth --flag ikeIntermediate --outform pem > serverCert.pem
ipsec pki --gen --outform pem > clientKey.pem
ipsec pki --pub --in clientKey.pem | ipsec pki --issue --cacert caCert.pem --cakey caKey.pem --dn "C=US, O=xxx, CN=client" --outform pem > clientCert.pem
openssl pkcs12 -export -inkey clientKey.pem -in clientCert.pem -name "client" -certfile caCert.pem -caname "xxxx" -out clientCert.p12

# where to put them...
mv caCert.pem /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/
mv serverCert.pem /etc/ipsec.d/certs/
mv serverKey.pem /etc/ipsec.d/private/
mv clientCert.pem /etc/ipsec.d/certs/
mv clientKey.pem /etc/ipsec.d/private/
mv caKey.pem /etc/ipsec.d/private/

Now install clientCert.p12 on the clients.


Add the following to your firewall configuration. You can use Luci for this.

config rule
        option src 'wan'
        option name 'IPSec ESP'
        option proto 'esp'
        option target 'ACCEPT'

config rule
        option src 'wan'
        option name 'IPSec IKE'
        option proto 'udp'
        option dest_port '500'
        option target 'ACCEPT'

config rule
        option src 'wan'
        option name 'IPSec NAT-T'
        option proto 'udp'
        option dest_port '4500'
        option target 'ACCEPT'

config rule
        option src 'wan'
        option name 'Auth Header'
        option proto 'ah'
        option target 'ACCEPT'
Explanation: Basically you're opening up the ports/protocols on the WAN zone that strongswan needs to accept traffic from a client. You can also create a custom zone called "VPN" if you want to get fancy.

Note that some guides have you adding additional forwarding rules using firewall.user. This is NOT necessary due to the fact that strongswan does this dynamically, as long as you have the leftfirewall=yes line in ipsec.conf.

HOWEVER: some builds of Strongswan (eg. v5.0.0 which is included in the 12.09 Attitude Adjustment package repository) seem to require the custom forwarding rules (perhaps because the leftfirewall=yes does not behave as it should??), so if you connect but don't get a default gateway and/or can't pass traffic, add these to firewall.user:

iptables -I INPUT  -m policy --dir in --pol ipsec --proto esp -j ACCEPT
iptables -I FORWARD  -m policy --dir in --pol ipsec --proto esp -j ACCEPT
iptables -I FORWARD  -m policy --dir out --pol ipsec --proto esp -j ACCEPT
iptables -I OUTPUT   -m policy --dir out --pol ipsec --proto esp -j ACCEPT


For testing, I used a Blackberry Z10 with NATIVE Ikev2 support (LOVE your Blackberry), an android phone with the StrongSwan Client and a Windows 7 machine using native IKEv2.

You can email clientCert.p12 to the mobile clients.

For BlackBerry Clients

BlackBerry allows you to specify Perfect Forward Secrecy. You will want/need this. This should be standard. To make this work, however, you need to add the following lines to the ipsec.conf file in the conn roadwarrior section, assuming this is the connection you want for your berry:


What this does is specify what cipher suites to use, including the Diffie Hellman Groups; you can read about these settings in the strongswan IKEv2 cipher suite documentation. Previously (before Strongswan, you'd use the pfs=yes statement. This has been deprecated.

Import your certificates into the Berry first, then add a VPN profile with the following settings:

  • Your gateway type will be "Generic IKEv2 VPN Server",
  • Authentication Type = PKI,
  • Authentication ID Type= Identity Certificate Distinguished Name
  • Client Certificate = The name of your client cert ("clent" in the above example)
  • Gateway Auth Type = PKI
  • Gateway Auth ID Type = Identify Certificate Distinguished Name
  • Gateway CA Certificate = your server Certificate name ("xxxx" in the above example)
  • Perfect Forward Secrecy = On (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Automatically determine IP = ON
  • Automatically determine DNS = ON
  • Automatically determine algorithm = ON

The rest can be left to defaults.

If you receive Authentication Error you can try to use distuingished name (DN) of your server's certificate instead of the FQDN for the leftid property. It is "C=US, O=xxx," in the example above, but you can find out yours using the command below and looking for the "Subject" field

openssl x509 -in /etc/ipsec.d/certs/serverCert.pem -text -noout

For Windows 7 Clients

In windows, run certmgr.msc to import your client certificate. Do NOT simply click on the cert - this won't work. Follow these instructions to setup the Windows VPN connection:

For Android Clients

In Android, go to "Settings > Security" to import.

In the Strongswan client, specify "IKEv2 Certificate + EAP" as the type of VPN, pick "client" for your certificate you just imported, and specify the username/password combo you added to /etc/ipsec.secrets. Keep an eye on the logfile (see above) during initial login to spot any issues. If all goes well, you can use your router as a VPN gateway for any mobile device, tablet, or laptop.

Blackberry supports IKEv2 natively.

For iPhones/iOS Clients

Versions of iOS prior to iOS 9, like Android, only support IKEv1. This setup is not recommended. For versions of iOS prior to iOS 9, you will need to use an app to use IKEv2. Cisco's Anyconnect may work, but has not been tested.

Beginning with iOS 9, IKEv2 connections are natively supported. However, iOS9 only supports the use of certificates or username/password, but not both. Therefore, the native IKEv2 implementation in iOS 9 will not work with this example. You will have to either alter the configuration above to support client certificates only or to support username/password only. If you wish to use both certificates and username/passwords together for iOS 9 clients of your IPsec VPN, you will have to use a third-party application. Cisco's Anyconnect may work, but has not been tested.

doc/howto/vpn.ipsec.roadwarrior.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/30 15:15 by tmomas