IPsec: Setup OPNsense for IKEv1 using XAuth

XAuth was an addition to IKEv1 supporting user authentication credentials additionally to pre-shared keys or certificates. There are three different types supported by OPNsense which we will describe here.

Mutual PSK + XAuth: You define a pre-shared key which is the same for every user and after securing the channel the user authentication via XAuth comes into play. Mutual RSA + XAuth: Instead of using a pre-shared key, every device needs a client certificate to secure the connection plus XAuth for authentication. This is the most secure variant for IKEv1/XAuth but also with the most work to do. Hybrid RSA + XAuth: Hybrid RSA is the same as Mutual, without the need for a client certificate. Only the server will be authenticated (like using HTTPS) to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks like with Mutual PSK. It is more secure than PSK but does not need the complete roll-out process like with Mutual RSA.

We assume you have read the first part at Road Warriors - Setup Remote Access

Step 1 - Create Certificates (only for RSA variants)

For Mutual RSA + XAuth and Hybrid RSA + XAuth you need to create a Root CA and a server certificate for your Firewall.

Go to System ‣ Trust ‣ Authorities and click Add. Give it a Descriptive Name and as Method choose Create internal Certificate Authority. Increase the Lifetime and fill in the fields matching your local values. Now go to System ‣ Trust ‣ Certificates and create a new certificate for the Firewall itself. Important is to change the Type to server. The Common Name can be the hostname of the Firewall and set as Alternative Name the FQDN your Firewall how it is known to the WAN side. This is most important as your VPN will drop when the FQDN does not match the ones of the certificate.

If you already have a CA roll out a server certificate and import the CA itself via System ‣ Trust ‣ Authorities and the certificate with the key in System ‣ Trust ‣ Certificates.

Step 2 - Mobile Clients

First we will need to setup the mobile clients network and authentication source. Go to VPN ‣ IPsec ‣ Mobile Clients

For our example will use the following settings:

IKE Extensions



check to enable mobile clients

User Authentication

Local Database

For the example we use the Local Database

Group Authentication


Leave on none

Virtual Address Pool

Enter the IP range for the remote clients

You can select other options, but we will leave them all unchecked for this example.

Save your settings and select Create Phase1 when it appears. Then enter the Mobile Client Phase 1 setting.

Step 3 - Phase 1 Mobile Clients

Phase 1 General information

Connection method


default is ‘Start on traffic’

Key Exchange version


XAuth only works on V1

Internet Protocol




choose the interface connected to the internet



freely chosen description

Phase 1 proposal (Authentication)

Authentication method


Choose one of the three available options

Negotiation mode

Main Mode

Use Main Mode here

My identifier

Distinguished Name

Set the FQDN you used within certificate, for PSK use “My IP address”

Pre-shared Key

Shared secret

For Mutual PSK + XAuth use this PSK, otherwise certificate below

My Certificate


Choose the certificate from dropdown list, only valid for RSA variants

Phase 1 proposal (Algorithms)

Encryption algorithm


For our example we will use AES/256 bits

Hash algoritm

SHA1, SHA256

SHA1 and SHA256 for compatibility

DH key group

1024, 2048 bit

1024 and 2048 bit for compatibility


28800 sec

lifetime before renegotiation

Advanced Options are fine by default.

Save your settings.

Step 3 - Phase 2 Mobile Clients

Press the button + in front of the phase 1 entry to add a new phase 2.

General information


Tunnel IPv4

Select Tunnel mode



Freely chosen description

Local Network

Local Network

LAN subnet

Route the local LAN subnet

Phase 2 proposal (SA/Key Exchange)



Choose ESP for encryption

Encryption algorithms

AES / 256

For this example we use AES 256

Hash algorithms

SHA1, SHA256

Same as before, mix SHA1 and SHA256

PFS Key group


Most mobile systems do not support PFS in Phase2


3600 sec

Save your settings and Enable IPsec, Select:



If you already had IPsec enabled and added Road Warrior setup, it is important to restart the whole service via services widget in the upper right corner of IPSec pages or via System ‣ Diagnostics ‣ Services ‣ Strongswan since applying configuration only reloads it, but a restart also loads the required modules of strongSwan.

Step 4 - Add IPsec Users

Go to System ‣ Access ‣ Users and press the + sign in the lower right corner to add a new user.

Enter the following into the form:

User Name




Save to apply.

Step 5 - Add client certificate (for Mutual RSA)

This step is only needed for Mutual RSA + XAuth!

Go to System ‣ Trust ‣ Certificates and create a new client certificate. Just click Add, choose your CA and probably increase the lifetime. Everything else besides the CN can be left default. Give a Common Name and Save. Download the newly created certificate as PKCS12 and export it to you enduser device.

Step 6 - Configure Client

To illustrate the client setup we will look at the configuration under macOS, including some screenshots. The configurations for Android and iOS will be settings only.


Configuration samples listed here where created using latest macOS, iOS and Android devices on time of publication in February 2016.

Configure macOS Client

Start with opening your network settings (System Preferences ‣ Network) and Add a new network by pressing the + in the lower left corner.

Now select VPN and Cisco IPSec, give your connection a name and press Create.


Now enter the details for our connection:


Next press Authentication Settings to add the group name and pre-shared key.


Press OK to save these settings and then Apply to apply them.

Now test the connection by selecting it from the list and hit Connect.



Configure iOS Client

To add a VPN connection on an iOS device go to Settings ‣ General ‣ VPN. Select Add VPN Configuration chose IPsec and use the Following Settings:


IPsec OPNsense

Freely chosen description


Our server address



Username of the remote account



Leave blank to be prompted every time

Preshared IPsec-key



Configure Android Client

To add a VPN connection on an Android device go to Settings ‣ Connections ‣ more networks, select VPN. Press the + in the top right corner to add a new VPN connection.

Use the Following Settings:


IPsec OPNsense

Freely chosen name


IPSec Xauth PSK

As configured in OPNsense

Server address

Our server address

Preshared IPsec-key



Save and try connecting. To connect enter Username and Password for the user expert we created in this example.