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Anyone using uvlan out there?

  • From: Steven Haigh
  • Date: Thu Sep 13 17:39:53 2007

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across uvlan... I first thought WTF, then upon researching it a little more, I'm starting to really like the idea for replacing a traditional VPN between sites etc.

From the web site:
uvlan is a User-space Virtual Local Area Network. In other words, uvlan peers act as nodes on a network switch. Routing ethernet traffic between peers inteligently. Thus allowing for multiple networks to share resources and even IP address space. Some may call it a VPN (Virtual Private Network) application, but it's much more powerful. Differences with traditional VPN technology:

1. It is peer-to-peer
2. It doesn't require licensing
3. It is much simpler
4. It operates at Layer-2 (Ethernet), VPNs generally operate at Layer-3 (IP)
Layer-2 applications like gaming can't be supported with Layer-3 tunneling.

How does it work?
Using the libpcap (winpcap for windows users) library, uvlan listens to a specific ethernet device. If a broadcast frame is seen, then it is sent off to all the peers so they can add it to their records and emit the broadcast on their local network. Once this happens, the device (computer, router, gaming console, etc) which sent the broadcast will be known by all the peers and remote machines will know of the device's existance and how to route traffic to it.

This behaviour is identical to a hardware switch. Only difference is - this switch is software and the backplane (the medium that passes information between switch ports) is encrypted packets on the internet.

From my understanding, this software is pretty much acting like a bridge, but with endpoints over a routed IP network.

Has anyone actually used this? Thoughts? Criticisms?

Steven Haigh

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