Configuring IPsec IKEv2 in OpenWrt 15.05

The interoperability of IPsec implementations on various platforms has becoming better and better in the last few years. For example, Windows 7 and newer releases fully support the IKEv2 (RFC 4306) and MOBIKE (RFC 4555) standards, and iOS started to support configuration of IKEv2 in the GUI since version 9.0.

In this tutorial, we’ll install strongSwan 5.3.3 in openwrt 15.05, configure it to provide IKEv2 service with public key authentication of the server and username/password based authentication of the clients using EAP-MSCHAP v2, and finally setup the VPN clients in Windows, Android and iOS so they can connect to it. Much of the complexity of IKEv2 configuration lies in the creation of SSL certificates.


First of all, install necessary strongSwan packages in openwrt 15.05:

root@OpenWrt:~# opkg update
root@OpenWrt:~# opkg install strongswan-minimal strongswan-mod-eap-mschapv2 strongswan-mod-eap-identity strongswan-mod-constraints strongswan-mod-md5 strongswan-mod-pem strongswan-mod-pkcs1 strongswan-mod-revocation

Creating CA and server certificates

I recommend using XCA to create and maintain your root CA for your IKEv2 service. iOS silently refuses to trust CA certificates with MD5 signatures. So make sure to create CA certificates with SHA1, or better SHA256, signatures. Export your CA certificate in DER format. In the configuration example below, our CA cert is exported as file ZhangsRootCA2.cer. You are advised to upload the CA certificate to a secured web server or mail it to your own E-mail accounts.

Different IPsec implementations have different requirements on the server certificate. See the strongSwan wiki article for details. These requirements can be satisfied in XCA by making the following changes to a new certificate based on its HTTPS_server template:

1. Add “IP security end entity” to “X509v3 Extended Key Usage” attribute.
2. Add all domain names and IP addresses of the IPsec server to the “X509v3 Subject Alternative Name” in the type of DNS and IP. IP addresses can be added to the SAN attribute as both DNS and IP to achieve best compatibility.

Here are the important details of an example IPsec server certificate created using XCA:

commonName: openwrt
X509v3 Extended Key Usage: TLS Web Server Authentication, IP security end entity
X509v3 Subject Alternative Name: DNS:openwrt, DNS:openwrt.lan,, DNS:, DNS:, IP Address:, IP Address: 
Netscape Cert Type: SSL Server

Export the server cert and the server key as openwrt.cer and openwrt.der respectively. The server key should only be stored in openwrt.



1. Save the CA certificate in folder /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/.

2. Save the server key as /etc/ipsec.d/private/openwrt.der. Change the file permission of the key file to 0600:

# chmod 0600 /etc/ipsec.d/private/*

3. Save the server certificate as /etc/ipsec.d/certs/openwrt.cer.


# ipsec.conf - strongSwan IPsec configuration file

# basic configuration

config setup
        # strictcrlpolicy=yes
        # uniqueids = no

conn roadwarrior-ikev2

Note: rightsourceip can specify an IP address pool in the form of CIDR notation. rightdns specifies the IP address of the DNS server that the IPsec clients should use.


# /etc/ipsec.secrets - strongSwan IPsec secrets file
: RSA openwrt.der
<username> : EAP "<PASSWORD>"

Firewall rules

If you want to connect from the WAN side, add the following configuration to /etc/config/firewall:

# allow incoming IPsec connections
config rule
 option src wan
 option proto esp
 option target ACCEPT

config rule
 option src wan
 option proto udp
 option dest_port 500
 option target ACCEPT

config rule
 option src wan
 option proto udp
 option dest_port 4500
 option target ACCEPT

config rule
 option src wan
 option proto ah
 option target ACCEPT

and then restart the firewall:

root@OpenWrt:~# /etc/init.d/firewall restart

Circumventing the PMTUD Problem

It’s a common practice in IPsec implementations to set the MTU of the IPsec tunnel interface to 1400 or lower. You won’t experience Path MTU Discovery problems if the MTU of your WAN interface is standard, which is 1500 in the case of Ethernet, or 1492 in the case of PPPoE. However, if the MTU of your WAN interface is significantly lower than 1500, you need to set the MTU of the installed routes for IPsec clients to a value lower than 1400, which can be achieved using the strongswan kernel-netlink module.

The MTU of my PPPoE WAN interface is 1442. To prevent IPsec clients from running into PMTUD problems, I have to change the mtu option in /etc/strongswan.d/charon/kernel-netlink.conf to around 1350:

# MTU to set on installed routes, 0 to disable.
mtu = 1352


Now stop the IPsec IKE daemon and restart it in foreground, so that we can immediately see its log messages on the ssh console:

root@OpenWrt:~# ipsec stop
root@OpenWrt:~# ipsec start --nofork

After testing is done, interrupt the “ipsec start –nofork” command by pressing Ctrl-C and start ipsec again by typing the following command:

root@OpenWrt:~# ipsec start

We can check the detailed information about established and configured connections by typing the ipsec status and statusall commands.

root@OpenWrt:~# ipsec status
root@OpenWrt:~# ipsec statusall

Client Configuration

Android 5+

1. Install the official strongSwan app.

2. Import the CA certificate ZhangsRootCA2.der. When opening the certificate, you’ll be prompted whether to open with the android “Certificate Installer” or the strongSwan “Import certificate” utility. If you’re using the CA certificate for IPsec only, you may import it to the strongSwan app, instead of the system certificate store of your Android device.

3. Open the strongSwan app, and tap “ADD VPN Profile”.

4. Edit the profile as follows. Uncheck the “Select automatically” option under “CA certificate:” and manually select the CA certificate we just imported. Tap “Save”.


iOS 9+

1. Import the CA certificate. As of iOS 9.2.1, a reboot is apparently necessary for the certificate import to take effect.

2. Open Settings / VPN, tap “Add VPN Configuration…“. Enter all the necessary information as follows, and then tap Done.

Description: profile name
Server: server address
Remote ID: commonName(CN) of server certificate
Username: username
Password: password


Windows 10

1. Import the CA certificate, ZhangsRootCA2.cer, to the Trusted Root Certification Authorities / Certificates folder of the system certificate store:

Double-click the certificate file, click Open and then Install Certificate…. You must choose Local Computer as Store Location. On the Certificate Store popup, choose the option Place all certificates in the following store. Click Browse… and choose the Trusted Root Certification Authorities / Certificates folder. Click Next and then Finish to complete the certificate import.

2. Click the Windwos Start menu / Settings / Network and Internet / VPN / Add VPN Connection. Enter information as in the following screenshot. Click Save.


3. By default, Windows 10 IPsec client adds a route to the remote network based on its IPv4 address class. If you want to set the default gateway on the remote network, you need to change the adapter settings of the VPN connection:

On the “Network and Internet / VPN” settings page, click “Change Adapter Settings“. Right-click the VPN connection you just created and then click “Properties / Networking tab / Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) / Properties / Advanced(V)…“. On the “Advanced TCP/IP Properties” dialog, check “Use default gateway on the remote network”. Click the OK buttons to close the configuration dialogs you just opened.

Note: Although Windows 10 can successfully get the remote DNS server addresses when establishing IPsec connections, it keeps querying the local (LAN) DNS servers for resolving domain names. This can cause connectivity issues for GSLB (Global Server Load Balancing) domain names and those domain names under DNS-poisoning attacks. In such cases, you’re strongly advised to use a http proxy or a socks5 proxy server on the remote network.


  • pazerbuy

    在Use default gateway on the remote network下面,把interface metric手动设为15,应该可以解决DNS问题。Win10真是一团渣。

  • froer


  • froer


    • wenzhuo


      • froer

        uniqueids = yes | no | never | replace | keep

        whether a particular participant ID should be kept unique, with any new IKE_SA using an ID
        deemed to replace all old ones using that ID. Participant IDs normally are unique, so a new
        IKE_SA using the same ID is almost invariably intended to replace an old one.
        The difference between no and never is that the daemon will replace old IKE_SAs when receiving an
        INITIAL_CONTACT notify if the option is no but will ignore these notifies if never is configured.
        The daemon also accepts the value replace which is identical to yes and the value keep to reject
        new IKE_SA setups and keep the duplicate established earlier.


  • 李勇

    你好,可以请“Creating CA and server certificates”,的操作命令列出来吗?

  • Rogan

    I can connect and ping the right hand virtual ip, but I do not see traffic coming back from my IOS10 phone.
    your config was very helpful, though I use letsencrypt public free certificates.

  • froer

    大哥,windows7连不上,客户端证书到地怎么做啊?我服务器证书:C=CN O=DIR505_VPN CN=DIR505_Root_CA,客户端:C=CN O=DIR505_VPN CN=CLIENT@DIR505,不行呢!!此外修改注册表HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\RasMan\Parameters\

  • Robert

    export the server key as public or private der?

    • wenzhuo

      Xca exports key as .der and certificate as .cer

      • Robert

        Thanks for the reply, there are options called “Der Public(.der)” and “Der Private(.der)” available. Both are in .der.
        and XCA version is 1.3.2.
        Tried both .der formats. No success. Something else must be wrong. But to make the key is right first.

        • wenzhuo

          I was using xca ver. 1.1.0 when writing the article. It provides two options only for exporting keys: PEM and DER. As for the latest version, you should obviously choose DER private, according to its latest documentation:

          • Robert

            Many thanks. Finally get iOS connected. Your tutorial is complete.
            Turns out the racoon service on my stock openwrt is alive and un-configed. It intercepts each incoming VPN connection request before strongswan.


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