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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Lower-Layer (Interface, Internet and Transport) Protocols (OSI Layers 2, 3 and 4)
      9  TCP/IP Internet Layer (OSI Network Layer) Protocols
           9  Internet Protocol (IP/IPv4, IPng/IPv6) and IP-Related Protocols (IP NAT, IPSec, Mobile IP)
                9  IP Security (IPSec) Protocols

Previous Topic/Section
IPSec General Operation, Components and Protocols
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Pages in Current Topic/Section
12
3
Next Page
IPSec Modes: Transport and Tunnel
Next Topic/Section

IPSec Architectures and Implementation Methods
(Page 3 of 3)

“Bump In The Wire” (BITW) Architecture

In this method we add a hardware device that provides IPSec services. For example, suppose we have a company with two sites. Each has a network that connects to the Internet using a router that is not capable of IPSec functions. We can interpose a special “IPSec” device between the router and the Internet at both sites, as shown in Figure 118. These devices will then intercept outgoing datagrams and add IPSec protection to them, and strip it off incoming datagrams.


Figure 118: IPSec “Bump In The Wire” (BITW) Architecture

In this IPSec architecture, IPSec is actually implemented in separate devices that sit between the devices that wish to communicate securely. These repackage insecure IP datagrams for transport over the public Internet.

 


Just as BITS lets us add IPSec to legacy hosts, BITW can “retrofit” non-IPSec routers to provide security benefits. The disadvantages are complexity and cost.

Parallels Between BITS and BITW

Incidentally, even though BITS and BITW seem quite different, they are really different ways of doing the same thing. In the case of BITS we add an extra software layer that adds security to existing IP datagrams; in BITW this same job is done by distinct hardware devices. In both cases the result is the same, and the implications on the choice of IPSec mode is likewise the same.

As we will see in the next topic, the choice of architecture has an important impact on which of the two IPSec modes can be used.

Key Concept: Three different architectures or implementation models are defined for IPSec. The best is integrated architecture, where IPSec is built into the IP layer of devices directly. The other two are “Bump In The Stack” (BITS) and “Bump In The Wire” (BITW), which both are ways of layering IPSec underneath regular IP, using software and hardware solutions respectively.



Previous Topic/Section
IPSec General Operation, Components and Protocols
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
12
3
Next Page
IPSec Modes: Transport and Tunnel
Next Topic/Section

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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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