Create a Linux VPN for a Nokia E61 with Openswan

Create a virtual private network between your Nokia E61 phone and a Linux gateway.

A virtual private network (VPN) allows you to send traffic across an untrusted network without exposing the content of that traffic. Conceptually, this is done by creating a pipe between two hosts where all network traffic transferred is protected by cryptography.

The example in this article is connecting a Nokia E61 device to a home network through a VPN over the Internet. The Nokia E61 is a smartphone that has Wi-Fi support as well as a VPN client. A similar procedure might work for other phone models using the same VPN client software, though the hardware was not on hand to test this. The Linux side was run on Fedora Linux 6; other distros might have slight path and package name changes.

The VPN support on the Nokia E61 uses IP security (IPSec). Openswan is an IPSec server that is configured on the Linux machine to provide the other end of the virtual network.

I should mention one caveat up front: I've been unable to configure the VPN client on the phone to connect to a server that does not have a static IP address.

To keep notation simple, I refer to the phone as e61 and the server running Openswan as vserv. The IP address of the e61 is irrelevant to the article, as you likely will be moving around to different Wi-Fi hotspots with the phone. When a VPN is set up, the e61 gets another IP address, which the e61 refers to as the virtual IP address. Once the VPN is set up, this virtual IP address is where all traffic to and from the e61 is sent. For this article, I use a 192.168.x.x IP address for this e61 VPN address. As the non-VPN IP address of the e61 is mostly irrelevant, unless I explicitly mention otherwise, the e61 IP address will be this non-Internet-routable IP address.

Unlike the other network settings on the phone, you cannot configure the VPN manually using the e61 itself. You have to create a package containing all the information about the VPN and install that package on the phone. These packages are the SIS files. A VPN SIS file also must be digitally signed before the e61 will allow you to install it. Signed SIS files normally have an sisx extension. The most difficult part of setting up the e61 to talk to Openswan is in creating the sisx file to install on the phone.

The SIS file still must be digitally signed, even if you have set the configuration parameter Software installation to All in App Mgr/Options/Settings.

The Contents of the sisx Package

The sisx package is composed of three files. Two of these are boilerplate-type package metadata (the and VPN.pkg files).

Getting the boilerplate files out of the way, the file is mostly uninteresting and is shown in Listing 1, and the VPN.pkg file is shown in Listing 2. Both files should work fine without any changes. Note that the paths shown in Listing 2 are to be interpreted relative to the phone itself and should not be changed.

The VPN.pol file shown in Listing 3 defines the meat of how to connect to the VPN and what key to use for authentication.

Some things need to be changed in VPN.pol before using it. The main changes are the static IP address of the Openswan server ( and the password to use to connect. The server's IP address appears more than once in the configuration file. To avoid any confusion about virtual IP addresses mentioned above, this IP address is the one from which vserv can be reached publicly from the Internet. The password is in the last field: the KEY. The number is the string length of the key that follows after a space.

If USE_XAUTH is set to true, when establishing the VPN connection the e61 prompts you for a user name and password with which to connect. This provides an additional level of security. In the event that the e61 is stolen, the thief will have to know your user name and password in order to access your VPN.

Openswan can use either PAM or a separate config file to test the user name and password on the server (more on this later).



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Here is an article Going

Rick's picture

Here is an article Going mobile with VoIP and SymVPN:

It seems that there is no problem to use PPTP VPN with VoIP on Nokia phone, but I have doubt that IPSec VPN can provide needed speed.
Have you tried to use IPSec VPN with VoIP software on your Nokia E61? Is it actually possible to have normal VoIP conversation over IPSec VPN?

New HOWTO using modern kernel based IPSEC

Anonymous's picture

I just posted a new HOWTO for connecting nokia VPN to linux using the new kernel based IPSec (requires kernel 2.6.20+).
This is a pure linux solution, not needing any windows software. The HOWTO covers everything including setting up the linux iptables firewall.
Uses RSA authentication, XAUTH is trivial to add:

HOWTO connect Nokia VPN to GNU/Linux

comments welcome

How can I pass the DNS setting to my phone?

gomobi's picture

Thanks for the great instruction. I have successfully connected my N82 to the VPN gateway. The problem is that the DNS setting is not correctly passed to the phone, I also got DNS error. Could you please give some suggestion?

Thanks again.


a bit thick's picture

my missus thinks I'm a genius with computers and phones but i would need to be Einstein to follow this stuff.
Reading it makes me realise how inadequate I really am.
Isnt there a version u can just click a link and hey presto it's downloaded onto your phone ;)

To complicated, I have installed SymVPN instead.

Anonymous's picture

To complicated.
That is why I am using SymVPN.
It is not IPSec, and it is not Openswan, as it is PPTP based VPN. However it is worth it - 5 parameters to enter and it works in 30 sec.
No headache with policy file.
No headache with signing.
Yes, it is probably less secure then Openswan and IPSec, but at least it is working, but Nokia Mobile VPN it is the dead end road for 98% of all Nokia phone users. Sounds promising in the theory, but nothing works in practice.

Too expensive

Anonymous's picture

SymVPN may be great but I don't see the point in paying all that money for something that I can already do for free.

If SymVPN were $10 or something that might be worth it but currently it's ridiculously expensive for the tiny functionality it provides. Plus, if we're talking easy-to-use-and-secure VPN, I would prefer the more secure OpenVPN over PPTP anyway.

SymVPN all the way and it is not expensive at all.

Anonymous's picture

I would say it is way too cheap for me. Look, with help of SymvPN I have saved just in 1 month on long distance phone charges more money than I have paid for this software. That is why I will buy it even if it will cost 5 time more. I need SymVPN to use it with VoIP. Withour VPN I cannot use VoIP on phone in my country. Just count your money and see for yourself.

Unfortunately on FP2 S60v3

morphix's picture

Unfortunately on FP2 S60v3 devices, SymVPN doesn't work properly, pretty much not at all due to the "Destinations" access point settings available in FP2 only devices, that counts my Nokia N96 out :(

SymVPN works just fine with Destinations.

Anonymous's picture

I am using SymVPN v.2.00 on my Nokia 5800 and it works fine with "Destinations". Created VPN Access Point is placed in Uncategorised destination and after that you just have to to move it to any destination where you need it.

Thanks for really good

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for really good article!
Now days everything can be made more simple way with appearance of SymVPN from
SymVPN is PPTP VPN client for Series 60 3rd phones.

Installation instruction in German WIKI / Update

FreshSmith's picture

== '''NOKIA VPN Client mit Open Source strongSWAN''' ==


# StrongSwan mit öffentlicher IP Adresse
# Symbian makesis.exe zum Serstellen von SIS Installationspaketen
# Konfigurationsfiles für SIS VPN Paket


StrongSwan ipsec.conf anpassen und NAT Traversat (NAT-T) aktivieren. Dies ist wichtig, da viele Mobilfunkprovider intern noch einmal natten. Die zugeteilte IP Adresse am Telefon entspricht nicht der IP Adresse, die bei einem Verbingsaufbau beim StrongSWAN ankommt.

config setup
include /etc/ipsec.d/ipsec-conn-e61-mrobichon.fas
include /etc/ipsec.d/ipsec-conn-e61-njaixen.fas

Danach müssen in der ipsec.secerts der PSK Key hinterlegt werden:

'': PSK "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"''

Falls XATH benutzt werden soll, hier wird bei der Initialisierung der Verbindung Username und Passwort abgefragt, dann sollte hier auch noch der entsprechende Eintrag mit Credentials hionterlagt werden:

'': XAUTH User "password"''

Nun kommen wir zu den Verbindungen. Hier wird es interessant. Im oberen Beispiel werden zwei Verbindungen in der ipsec.conf includiert. Die Konfiguration könnte so aussehen:

conn e61-mrobichon
# Key exchange
# Data exchange
# Authentication method PSK
# Modeconfig setting
# LEFT: serverseite
#Internes Netz, falls alles geroutet werden soll dann
# leftmodecfgserver=yes
#Falls XAUTH verwendet werden soll, dann diesen Eintrag aktivieren
# leftxauthserver=yes
# RIGHT: clientseite
# Right ID ist absolut wichtig, wenn meherere Verbindungen von
# unterschidlichen Clients aufgebaut werden sollen = FQDN (binär)
# rightxauthclient=yes
# rightmodecfgclient=yes
# virtuelle IP Adresse des IPSEC Tunnels pro Client und Connection

Parameter, die editiert werden müssen:

* leftsubnet= -- internes Netz
* rightid=@#4d6f62696c6547726f7570 -- in der Nokia pol (später) representiert die ID die FQDN und wird hier binär ausgedrückt. Am besten man lässt das Feld offen und probiert erst mal aus, welche ID übermittelt wird. Die kann man sehen, wenn man eine Verbindung aufbaut und in die messages reinschaut:
"e61-njaixen"[6] #9: Peer ID is ID_KEY_ID: '0x4d6f62696c6547726f7570'
das 0x wird durch @# ersetzt
* rightsourceip= -- virtuelle IP Adresse, die dem Client zugeordnet wird dasselbe mit dem rightsubnet (virtuelle Client IP + Subnetz localhost = 32)



Die Konfiguration besteht aus drei Dateien: pin, pkg, pol. Die Dateien müssen denselben Dateinamen haben. pin und pkg brauchen nicht editiert zu werden.
Als Beipiel hier die Konfigurationen:
VPN-Policy for Nokia Mobile VPN Client v3.0.
Do not edit
Do not edit


; - None (English only by default)

; - Only one component name is needed to support English only
; - UID is the UID of the VPN Policy Installer application
#{"VPN-Policy"},(0x1000597E), 1, 0, 0, TYPE=SA
;Localised Vendor name

;Unique Vendor name

; Policy file
; Policy-information file
; - NOTE: The policy-information file MUST be the last file in this list!
; - FM (FILEMIME) passes the file to the respective MIME handler
; (in this case, the VPN Policy Installer application).
FM, "application/x-ipsec-policy-info"
; - The VPN Policy Installer application
(0x1000597E), 1, 0, 0, {"VPN Policy Installer"}
; - S60 3rd Edition ID
[0x101F7961], 0, 0, 0, {"S60ProductID"}

sa ipsec_1 = {
encrypt_alg 12
max_encrypt_bits 256
auth_alg 3
identity_remote #internes Netz
hard_lifetime_bytes 0
hard_lifetime_addtime 3600
hard_lifetime_usetime 3600
soft_lifetime_bytes 0
soft_lifetime_addtime 3600
soft_lifetime_usetime 3600
remote = { ipsec_1( } #internes Netz {StrongSWAN IP}
inbound = { }
outbound = { }
FQDN: MobileGrou2 #rightid (binär) in StrongSWAN Konfiguration
USE_XAUTH: FALSE #Falls XAUTH benutzt werden soll
KEY: 20 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #Secret in ipsec.secrets


Erstellung der SIS Datei mit "makesis VPN-policy-preshared-Cisco.pkg" die SIS Datei wird erstellt. Danach einloggen auf [[]]
Hier auf den Link "Open Signed Online". Auf dieser Seite muss nun die IMEI des Mobiltelefons eingegeben werden, auf dem die Policy geladen werden soll *#06#. Mailadresse, an die der Link zur Apllikation gesendet wird und natürlich upload der SIS Datei, welche signiert werden soll. Man erhält eine Verifizierungsmail und kurz danach den Link zum Download der signierten Applikation.

Die Aplikation installiert man dann via PC Suite oder ähnliches direkt auf dem Mobiltelefon. Sollten IMEI nicht zusammen passen, dann muss das ganze nochmal erstellt werden. Nun geht man nach

System --> Einstellungen --> Verbindung --> VPN --> VPN Zugangspunkt

Verbindungsname frei wählbar
VPN-Richtline die gerade geladene Richtlinie (VPN-policy)
Internetzugangspunkt Providereinwahl

alle anderen Punkte so lassen.


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