Please Whitelist This Site?

I know everyone hates ads. But please understand that I am providing premium content for free that takes hundreds of hours of time to research and write. I don't want to go to a pay-only model like some sites, but when more and more people block ads, I end up working for free. And I have a family to support, just like you. :)

If you like The TCP/IP Guide, please consider the download version. It's priced very economically and you can read all of it in a convenient format without ads.

If you want to use this site for free, I'd be grateful if you could add the site to the whitelist for Adblock. To do so, just open the Adblock menu and select "Disable on". Or go to the Tools menu and select "Adblock Plus Preferences...". Then click "Add Filter..." at the bottom, and add this string: "@@||^$document". Then just click OK.

Thanks for your understanding!

Sincerely, Charles Kozierok
Author and Publisher, The TCP/IP Guide

NOTE: Using software to mass-download the site degrades the server and is prohibited.
If you want to read The TCP/IP Guide offline, please consider licensing it. Thank you.

The Book is Here... and Now On Sale!

Get The TCP/IP Guide for your own computer.
The TCP/IP Guide

Custom Search

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 Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
Next Page
Internet Protocol Mobility Support (Mobile IP)
Next Topic/Section

IPSec Key Exchange (IKE)
(Page 2 of 2)

IKE Operation

So, IKE doesn't strictly implement either OAKLEY or SKEME but takes bits of each to form its own method of using ISAKMP. Clear as mud, I know. Since IKE functions within the framework of ISAKMP, its operation is based on the ISAKMP phased negotiation process. There are two phases:

  • ISAKMP Phase 1: The first phase is a “setup” stage where two devices agree on how to exchange further information securely. This negotiation between the two units creates a security association for ISAKMP itself; an ISAKMP SA. This security association is then used for securely exchanging more detailed information in Phase 2.

  • ISAKMP Phase 2: In this phase the ISAKMP SA established in Phase 1 is used to create SAs for other security protocols. Normally, this is where the parameters for the “real” SAs for the AH and ESP protocols would be negotiated.

An obvious question is why IKE bothers with this two-phased approach; why not just negotiate the security association for AH or ESP in the first place? Well, even though the extra phase adds overhead, multiple Phase 2 negotiations can be conducted after one Phase 1, which amortizes the extra “cost” of the two-phase approach. It is also possible to use a simpler exchange method for Phase 2 once the ISAKMP security association has been established in Phase 1.

The ISAKMP security association negotiated during Phase 1 includes the negotiation of the following attributes used for subsequent negotiations:

  • An encryption algorithm to be used, such as the Data Encryption Standard (DES).

  • A hash algorithm (MD5 or SHA, as used by AH or ESP).

  • An authentication method, such as authentication using previously shared keys.

  • A Diffie-Hellman group. Diffie and Hellman were two pioneers in the industry who invented public-key cryptography. In this method, instead of encrypting and decrypting with the same key, data is encrypted using a public key knowable to anyone, and decrypted using a private key that is kept secret. A Diffie-Hellman group defines the attributes of how to perform this type of cryptography. Four predefined groups derived from OAKLEY are specified in IKE and provision is allowed for defining new groups as well.

Note that even though security associations in general are unidirectional, the ISAKMP SA is established bidirectionally. Once Phase 1 is complete, then, either device can set up a subsequent SA for AH or ESP using it.


Previous Topic/Section
IPSec Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
Next Page
Internet Protocol Mobility Support (Mobile IP)
Next Topic/Section

If you find The TCP/IP Guide useful, please consider making a small Paypal donation to help the site, using one of the buttons below. You can also donate a custom amount using the far right button (not less than $1 please, or PayPal gets most/all of your money!) In lieu of a larger donation, you may wish to consider purchasing a download license of The TCP/IP Guide. Thanks for your support!
Donate $2
Donate $5
Donate $10
Donate $20
Donate $30
Donate: $

Home - Table Of Contents - Contact Us

The TCP/IP Guide (
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.