FortiGate IPsec VPN for FortiClient

IPsec VPN with FortiClient


The easiest way to configure an IPsec VPN for FortiClient is by using the IPsec wizard available on the FortiGate GUI. The wizard applies the configuration for you based on the input provided. In this post, I will describe how to use the wizard to give the remote FortiClient user on the topology above, access to LAN and DMZ, through IPsec VPN.

The configuration will use IKEv1 as negotiation protocol. For IKEv2, see this post.

Firmware and Configuration Details

  • FortiOS 6.2.3.
  • FortiClient for Windows 6.2.x.
  • VDOMs: disabled.
  • Firewall address objects for LAN and DMZ have been pre-configured.
  • VPN user bob belongs to VPN user group. Both objects have been pre-configured.

FortiGate Configuration

Using the IPsec Wizard

On the FortiGate GUI, we go to VPN > IPsec Wizard.

FortiGate IPsec Wizard

The wizard offers different IPsec VPN deployment options. The one we need is Remote Access. You also need to make sure Remote device type is set to Client-based and that FortiClient is selected. Also notice that the wizard changes the diagram located at the right side, to reflect the IPsec deployment type being configured. Next, enter the name of the IPsec VPN, which must not exceed 13 characters. This limit is due to the naming convention used by FortiGate for dialup clients. Let's set the name to FCT and move on to the next step.

FortiGate IPsec Wizard - VPN Setup

Now, you need to select the Incoming Interface, which is the interface the tunnel terminates on. Per lab topology, it's port1. You also need to configure the authentication method. Two methods are available: Pre-shared Key and Signature. With Pre-shared Key, both dialup client and server must be configured with the same pre-shared key for phase 1 authentication to be successful. Signature is used when you want to use digital certificate signatures to authenticate the remote user. This time, I will select Pre-shared Key option. You must also select a user group for XAuth authentication. I already have a user group named VPN in the configuration. If you need to create a user group, you can create them through the wizard.

FortiGate IPsec Wizard - Authentication

The next step is to select the policy and routing settings. The Local interface is the interface facing our local network, which per lab topology is port7. As Local Address, I select the firewall address object matching my local subnets. In my case, I had already configured LAN and DMZ firewall objects for and subnets, respectively. You also need to configure the Client Address Range, which defines the addresses that will be assigned to the remote users. I will use the range. You must also select the DNS Server configuration for the remote users. Selecting Use System DNS results in the remote users assigned with the same DNS servers used by FortiGate, while Specify allows you set separate DNS servers. The last two options, Enable IPv4 Split Tunnel and Allow Endpoint Registration, allow you to enable split tunneling and endpoint registration over IPsec VPN, respectively. When split tunneling is enabled, FortiClient installs routes on the local host for the remote subnets set as Local Address. This means that the remote user Internet traffic will continue to be routed directly through the local Internet connection. If you disable split tunneling, FortiClient installs a default route through the tunnel. As a result, all traffic, including Internet, is routed through the tunnel. Security wise, disabling split tunneling is a better option, as you force all traffic to pass through FortiGate. With split tunneling enabled, a compromised remote user could become a bridge between the Internet and your local network. For simplicity, I will keep split tunneling enabled. I will also keep enabled endpoint registration.

FortiGate IPsec Wizard - Policy & Routing

The last step is to configure Client Options for FortiClient. I will keep the default settings.

FortiGate IPsec Wizard - Client Options

After clicking Create, the wizard displays a summary of the changes made to the configuration. From there, you can edit some of the objects configured by the wizard if needed.

FortiGate IPsec Wizard - Summary

Adjusting firewall policy configuration

The IPsec wizard configured a single incoming policy to allow VPN traffic to both LAN and DMZ subnets, and set port5 as the outgoing interface. This policy is correct for LAN, but not for DMZ which is behind port7. Therefore, I need to remove DMZ subnet from the policy created by the wizard and configure another policy for port7: 

  • On the GUI, browse to Policy & Objects > IPv4 Policy, and locate vpn_FCT_remote policy.
  • Edit the policy and remove DMZ from Destination, and apply the changes.
Edit firewall policy

  • On Policy & Objects > IPv4 Policy, right-click on vpn_FCT_remote policy, and then click Copy.
Clone firewall policy

  • Right-click on the policy again, and now select Paste > Below. A cloned policy is created just below.
  • Double-click on the new policy. Assign a Name to the policy, set DMZ as Destination, and then set port7 as Outgoing Interface.
Change outgoing interface in policy
  • Scroll down and make sure to turn Enable this policy on to enable the policy (cloned policies are disabled by default).
Enable this policy

FortiClient Configuration

I will use FortiClient 6.2 VPN version for Windows, which is available for free at

  • To configure a new VPN, right-click on the FortiClient system tray icon, and click Open FortiClient Console.
Open FortiClient Console

  • When creating a new IPsec VPN, set the Remote Gateway to port1 address ( and enter the same pre-shared key configured on FortiGate.

FortiClient - New IPsec VPN


Remote user

  • Initiate the VPN connection on the remote user from FortiClient and use bob's credentials. The VPN is connected.

FortiClient IPsec VPN - Connected

  • When checking the routing table on the remote user, I see the two routes installed by FortiClient (split tunneling).
C:\Users\User>route print
--- cut ---      1      1
--- cut ---
  • I ping a host in LAN ( and another in DMZ ( Pings are successful.

Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=63
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=63

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 2, Received = 2, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 1ms, Maximum = 1ms, Average = 1ms

Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=63
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=63

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 2, Received = 2, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 1ms, Maximum = 1ms, Average = 1ms

FortiGate GUI

  • Go to Monitor > IPsec Monitor, and enable the Proxy ID Destination and XAUTH User columns. The tunnel FCT_0 for bob is up. Also, bob was assigned with address
FortiGate IPsec Monitor - Tunnel is up
  • On the GUI, go to Monitor > Routing Monitor . A static route has been added for bob:
FortiGate Routing Monitor - IPsec route

FortiGate CLI

  • Phase 1. It's up (established).
FGT-HQ # diagnose vpn ike gateway list

vd: root/0
name: FCT_0
version: 1
interface: port1 3
addr: ->
virtual-interface-addr: ->
created: 2320s ago
xauth-user: bob
assigned IPv4 address:
IKE SA: created 1/1  established 1/1  time 110/110/110 ms
IPsec SA: created 1/1  established 1/1  time 30/30/30 ms

  id/spi: 1 e48906298987d1e9/ea8d1c57df6abd58
  direction: responder
  status: established 2320-2320s ago = 110ms
  proposal: aes256-sha256
  key: 785f9aac0b8d7446-80370aaf64c4b5e5-0f3c32f651ab335c-2e689ed61c0ce468
  lifetime/rekey: 86400/83809
  DPD sent/recv: 00000000/00000695

  • Phase 2. Security associations (SAs) were negotiated. Tunnel is up.
FGT-HQ # diagnose vpn tunnel list name FCT_0
list all ipsec tunnel in vd 0
name=FCT_0 ver=1 serial=c> dst_mtu=1500
bound_if=3 lgwy=static/1 tun=intf/0 mode=dial_inst/3 encap=none/640 options[0280]=rgwy-chg frag-rfc  run_state=1 accept_traffic=1

parent=FCT index=0
proxyid_num=1 child_num=0 refcnt=5 ilast=3 olast=3 ad=/0
stat: rxp=43 txp=6 rxb=5528 txb=360
dpd: mode=on-idle on=1 idle=60000ms retry=3 count=0 seqno=0
natt: mode=none draft=0 interval=0 remote_port=0
proxyid=FCT proto=0 sa=1 ref=2 serial=1 add-route
  src: 0:
  dst: 0:
  SA:  ref=3 options=2a6 type=00 soft=0 mtu=1438 expire=40832/0B replaywin=2048
       seqno=7 esn=0 replaywin_lastseq=0000002b itn=0 qat=0
  life: type=01 bytes=0/0 timeout=43189/43200
  dec: spi=30512c74 esp=aes key=16 4e88e36e046870d365c4ef6091f26ab6
       ah=sha1 key=20 3810fdb644fed133ca390e4c28c74f026e870462
  enc: spi=b7574cc4 esp=aes key=16 866576e8e57c5327caedf8311db1627b
       ah=sha1 key=20 7a07c1e7f2c733920a1570cc31d76667f16b6fbc
  dec:pkts/bytes=43/2741, enc:pkts/bytes=6/720

  • Routing table. A static route for bob ( has been added.
FGT-HQ # get router info routing-table all

Routing table for VRF=0
Codes: K - kernel, C - connected, S - static, R - RIP, B - BGP
       O - OSPF, IA - OSPF inter area
       N1 - OSPF NSSA external type 1, N2 - OSPF NSSA external type 2
       E1 - OSPF external type 1, E2 - OSPF external type 2
       i - IS-IS, L1 - IS-IS level-1, L2 - IS-IS level-2, ia - IS-IS inter area
       * - candidate default

S* [10/0] via, port1
C is directly connected, port1
C is directly connected, FCT
C is directly connected, port7
C is directly connected, port5
S [15/0] via, FCT

  • When sniffing pings sent by remote user. ICMP requests and replies are seen.
FGT-HQ # diagnose sniffer packet any "host and icmp" 4 0 l
filters=[host and icmp]
2020-05-05 22:50:44.199223 FCT in -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:50:44.199264 port5 out -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:50:44.199725 port5 in -> icmp: echo reply
2020-05-05 22:50:44.199742 FCT out -> icmp: echo reply
2020-05-05 22:50:45.216177 FCT in -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:50:45.216252 port5 out -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:50:45.216672 port5 in -> icmp: echo reply
2020-05-05 22:50:45.216698 FCT out -> icmp: echo reply

FGT-HQ # diagnose sniffer packet any "host and icmp" 4 0 l
filters=[host and icmp]
2020-05-05 22:51:21.119346 FCT in -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:51:21.119395 port7 out -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:51:21.119751 port7 in -> icmp: echo reply
2020-05-05 22:51:21.119758 FCT out -> icmp: echo reply
2020-05-05 22:51:22.139573 FCT in -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:51:22.139602 port7 out -> icmp: echo request
2020-05-05 22:51:22.140168 port7 in -> icmp: echo reply
2020-05-05 22:51:22.140184 FCT out -> icmp: echo reply

Lab Files

Feel free to download the configuration files used in this lab, as well as the output taken for some debugs during testing.

File Description Date
ipsec-fct-FGT-HQ-623.conf FortiGate HQ Configuration File 05/05/2020
ipsec-fct-ike-debug.txt IKE debug 05/05/2020
ipsec-fct-ike-sniffer.pcap IKE pcap 05/05/2020

Bottom Line

You can use the IPsec wizard to quickly configure a remote access IPsec VPN for FortiClient.  I also had to make minor changes to the configuration made by the IPsec wizard to match our topology.

IPsec wizard is a great tool to configure basic IPsec VPN deployments. If you are new to FortiGate or don't have much experience with IPsec VPNs, you should consider using the IPsec wizard to configure your VPN.

Paul Marin

Paul Marin
A Network Security Engineer based in Canada.

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