Libreswan is an open source IPSec implementation that is based on FreeS/WAN and Openswan. Most Linux distributions include Libreswan or make it easy to install. You can install it on hosts in either your on-premises network or a cloud provider network. For an example of setting up a Libreswan host in another cloud provider to connect to your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure virtual cloud network (VCN), see Access to Other Clouds with Libreswan.

This topic provides configuration for CPE that is running Libreswan. Virtual tunnel interface (VTI) support for this route-based configuration requires minimum Libreswan version 3.18 and a recent Linux 3.x or 4.x kernel. This configuration was validated using Libreswan version 3.29.


Oracle provides configuration instructions for a set of vendors and devices. Make sure to use the configuration for the correct vendor.

If the device or software version that Oracle used to verify the configuration does not exactly match your device or software, the configuration might still work for you. Consult your vendor's documentation and make any necessary adjustments.

If your device is for a vendor not in the list of verified vendors and devices, or if you're already familiar with configuring your device for IPSec, see the list of supported IPSec parameters and consult your vendor's documentation for assistance.

VPN Connect is the IPSec VPN that Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers for connecting your on-premises network to a virtual cloud network (VCN).

The following diagram shows a basic IPSec connection to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure with redundant tunnels. IP addresses used in this diagram are an example only.

This image summarizes the general layout of your on-premises network, VPN Connect tunnels, and VCN.

Best Practices

This section covers general best practices and considerations for using VPN Connect.

Configure All Tunnels for Every IPSec Connection

Oracle deploys two IPSec headends for each of your connections to provide high availability for your mission-critical workloads. On the Oracle side, these two headends are on different routers for redundancy purposes. Oracle recommends configuring all available tunnels for maximum redundancy. This is a key part of the "Design for Failure" philosophy.

Have Redundant CPEs in Your On-Premises Network Locations

Each of your sites that connects with IPSec to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure should have redundant edge devices (also known as customer-premises equipment (CPE)). You add each CPE to the Oracle Console and create a separate IPSec connection between your dynamic routing gateway (DRG)  and each CPE. For each IPSec connection, Oracle provisions two tunnels on geographically redundant IPSec headends. For more information, see the Connectivity Redundancy Guide (PDF).

Routing Protocol Considerations

When you create an IPSec VPN, it has two redundant IPSec tunnels. Oracle encourages you to configure your CPE to use both tunnels (if your CPE supports it). Note that in the past, Oracle created IPSec VPNs that had up to four IPSec tunnels.

The following two routing types are available, and you choose the routing type separately for each tunnel in the IPSec VPN:

  • BGP dynamic routing: The available routes are learned dynamically through BGP. The DRG dynamically learns the routes from your on-premises network. On the Oracle side, the DRG advertises the VCN's subnets.
  • Static routing: When you set up the IPSec connection to the DRG, you specify the particular routes to your on-premises network that you want the VCN to know about. You also must configure your CPE device with static routes to the VCN's subnets. These routes are not learned dynamically.

For more information about routing with VPN Connect, including Oracle recommendations on how to manipulate the BGP best path selection algorithm, see Routing for the Oracle IPSec VPN.

Other Important CPE Configurations

Ensure access lists on your CPE are configured correctly to not block necessary traffic from or to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

If you have multiple tunnels up simultaneously, ensure that your CPE is configured to handle traffic coming from your VCN on any of the tunnels. For example, you need to disable ICMP inspection, configure TCP state bypass, and so on. For more details about the appropriate configuration, contact your CPE vendor's support.

Caveats and Limitations

This section covers general important characteristics and limitations of VPN Connect to be aware of.

Asymmetric Routing

Oracle uses asymmetric routing across the multiple tunnels that make up the IPSec connection. Configure your firewalls accordingly. Otherwise, ping tests or application traffic across the connection will not reliably work.

When you use multiple tunnels to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle recommends that you configure your routing to deterministically route traffic through the preferred tunnel. If you want to use one IPSec tunnel as primary and another as backup, configure more-specific routes for the primary tunnel (BGP) and less-specific routes (summary or default route) for the backup tunnel (BGP/static). Otherwise, if you advertise the same route (for example, a default route) through all tunnels, return traffic from your VCN to your on-premises network will route to any of the available tunnels (because Oracle uses asymmetric routing).

For specific Oracle routing recommendations about how to force symmetric routing, see Preferring a Specific Tunnel in the IPSec VPN.

Route-Based or Policy-Based IPSec VPN

The IPSec protocol uses Security Associations (SAs) to determine how to encrypt packets. Within each SA, you define encryption domains to map a packet's source and destination IP address and protocol type to an entry in the SA database to define how to encrypt or decrypt a packet.


Other vendors or industry documentation might use the term proxy ID, security parameter index (SPI), or traffic selector when referring to SAs or encryption domains.

There are two general methods for implementing IPSec tunnels:

  • Route-based tunnels: Also called next-hop-based tunnels. A route table lookup is performed on a packet's destination IP address. If that route’s egress interface is an IPSec tunnel, the packet is encrypted and sent to the other end of the tunnel.
  • Policy-based tunnels: The packet's source and destination IP address and protocol are matched against a list of policy statements. If a match is found, the packet is encrypted based on the rules in that policy statement.

The Oracle VPN headends use route-based tunnels but can work with policy-based tunnels with some caveats listed in the following sections.


The Oracle VPN headend supports only a single encryption domain. If your policy includes multiple entries, the tunnel will flap or there will be connectivity problems in which only a single policy works at any one time.

Encryption domain for route-based tunnels
Encryption domain for policy-based tunnels

If Your CPE Is Behind a NAT Device

In general, the CPE IKE identifier configured on your end of the connection must match the CPE IKE identifier that Oracle is using. By default, Oracle uses the CPE's public IP address, which you provide when you create the CPE object in the Oracle Console. However, if your CPE is behind a NAT device, the CPE IKE identifier configured on your end might be the CPE's private IP address, as show in the following diagram.

This image shows the CPE behind a NAT device, the public and private IP addresses, and the CPE IKE identifier.


Some CPE platforms do not allow you to change the local IKE identifier. If you cannot, you must change the remote IKE ID in the Oracle Console to match your CPE's local IKE ID. You can provide the value either when you set up the IPSec connection, or later, by editing the IPSec connection. Oracle expects the value to be either an IP address or a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) such as For instructions, see Changing the CPE IKE Identifier That Oracle Uses.

Supported IPSec Parameters

For a vendor-neutral list of supported IPSec parameters for all regions, see Supported IPSec Parameters.

The Oracle BGP ASN for the commercial cloud is 31898. If you're configuring VPN Connect for the Government Cloud, see Required VPN Connect Parameters for Government Cloud and also Oracle's BGP ASN.

CPE Configuration


The configuration instructions in this section are provided by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for your CPE. If you need support or further assistance, contact your CPE vendor's support directly.

The following figure shows the basic layout of the IPSec connection.

This image summarizes the general layout of the IPSec connection and tunnels.

Default Libreswan Configuration Files

The default Libreswan installation creates the following files:

  • etc/ipsec.conf: The root of the Libreswan configuration.
  • /etc/ipsec.secrets: The root of the location where Libreswan looks for secrets (the tunnel pre-shared keys).
  • /etc/ipsec.d/: A directory for storing the .conf and .secrets files for your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure tunnels (for example: oci-ipsec.conf and oci-ipsec.secrets). Libreswan encourages you to create these files in this folder.

The default etc/ipsec.conf file includes this line:

include /etc/ipsec.d/*.conf

The default etc/ipsec.secrets file includes this line:

include /etc/ipsec.d/*.secrets

The preceding lines automatically merge all the.conf and .secrets files in the /etc/ipsec.d directory into the main configuration and secrets files that Libreswan uses.

About Using IKEv2

Oracle supports Internet Key Exchange version 1 (IKEv1) and version 2 (IKEv2). If you configure the IPSec connection in the Console to use IKEv2, you must configure your CPE to use only IKEv2 and related IKEv2 encryption parameters that your CPE supports. For a list of parameters that Oracle supports for IKEv1 or IKEv2, see Supported IPSec Parameters.

You specify the IKE version when setting up the IPSec configuration file in task 3 in the next section. In that example file, there's a comment showing how to configure IKEv1 versus IKEv2.

Configuration Process

Libreswan supports both route-based and policy-based tunnels. The tunnel types can coexist without interfering with each other. The Oracle VPN headends use route-based tunnels. Oracle recommends that you configure Libreswan with the Virtual Tunnel Interface (VTI) configuration syntax.

For details about the specific parameters used in this document, see Supported IPSec Parameters.

Task 1: Prepare the Libreswan instance
Task 2: Determine the required configuration values
Task 3: Set up the configuration file: /etc/ipsec.d/oci-ipsec.conf
Task 4: Set up the secrets file: /etc/ipsec.d/oci-ipsec.secrets
Task 5: Restart the Libreswan configuration
Task 6: Configure IP routing


A Monitoring service is also available from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to actively and passively monitor your cloud resources. For information about monitoring your VPN Connect, see VPN Connect Metrics.

If you have issues, see VPN Connect Troubleshooting.

Checking the Libreswan Status

Check the current state of your Libreswan tunnels by using the following command.

ipsec status

The tunnel is established if you see a line that includes the following:

STATE_MAIN_I4: ISAKMP SA established

If you're using IKEv2, you see the following:

STATE_V2_IPSEC_I (IPsec SA established)

In the future, if you need to open a support ticket with Oracle about your Libreswan tunnel, include the output of the preceding ipsec status command.

Checking the Tunnel Interface Status

Check if the virtual tunnel interfaces are up or down by using the ifconfig command or the ip link show command. You can also use applications such as tcpdump with the interfaces.

Here's an example of the ifconfig output with a working Libreswan implementation that shows the available VTIs.

<output trimmed>
vti01: flags=209<UP,POINTOPOINT,RUNNING,NOARP> mtu 8980
     inet6 fe80::5efe:a00:2 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x20<link>
     tunnel txqueuelen 1000 (IPIP Tunnel)
     RX packets 0 bytes 0 (0.0 B)
     RX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 frame 0
     TX packets 0 bytes 0 (0.0 B)
     TX errors 10 dropped 0 overruns 0 carrier 10 collisions 0

vti02: flags=209<UP,POINTOPOINT,RUNNING,NOARP> mtu 8980
     inet6 fe80::5efe:a00:2 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x20<link>
     tunnel txqueuelen 1000 (IPIP Tunnel)
     RX packets 0 bytes 0 (0.0 B)
     RX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 frame 0
     TX packets 0 bytes 0 (0.0 B)
     TX errors 40 dropped 0 overruns 0 carrier 40 collisions 0

Here's an example of the ip link show output:

ip link show
<output trimmed>

9: vti01@NONE: <POINTOPOINT,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 8980 qdisc noqueue
state UNKNOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
   link/ipip peer

10: vti02@NONE: <POINTOPOINT,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 8980 qdisc noqueue
state UNKNOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
   link/ipip peer

Also, in the Oracle Console, each IPSec tunnel should now be in the UP state.