Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Syracuse University

Virtual Private Network (VPN) Lab


A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is used for creating a private scope of computer communications or providing a secure extension of a private network into an insecure network such as the Internet. VPN is a widely used security technology. VPN can be built upon IPSec or Secure Socket Layer (SSL). These are two fundamentally different approaches for building VPNs. In this lab, we focus on the SSL-based VPNs. This type of VPNs is often referred to as SSL VPNs.

The learning objective of this lab is for students to master the network and security technologies underlying SSL VPNs. The design and implementation of SSL VPNs exemplify a number of security principles and technologies, including crypto, integrity, authentication, key management, key exchange, and Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI). To achieve this goal, students will implement miniVPN, a simple SSL VPN, in the Linux operating system.

Lab Description and Tasks (PDF)

    For instructors: if you prefer to modify the lab description to suit your own courses, you can download the source files (Latex) from here.

Recommended Time: 4 weeks

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Student Feedbacks

To help us understand how effectively this lab has enhanced students' learning in computer security, we asked students to fill out an anonymous survey right after they finish the lab. We started to conduct the survey since 2007. The survey results depicted in the following are aggregate results over several years.