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Cisco releases VPN preview for Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

Cisco Anyconnect is now available for Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The preview version allows Android phones and tablets to access sites behind company firewalls, clearing the way for greater enterprise adoption of Android.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor
Support for Cisco VPN has long been requested by users looking to bring Android phones and tablets into the enterprise. Up to now, you either had to have a rooted device, or you had to be using a few select models that had the support built into the kernel. Thanks to Cisco, any device running Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) can now join the party:

Preview AnyConnect for "generic" Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) devices is now available in the Android Market .

Our Release Candidate of AnyConnect for Android ICS+ is now available for all to download from the Android Market. This version (or one with a small number of additive fixes) will be considered officially released over the next couple of weeks.

This is a preview release so expect a few problems. The Market page lists a number of known issues and limitations, and instructions on how to report them to Cisco or to your network administrator. Android 4 is required, because it contains new APIs that allow 3rd parties like Cisco to support VPN on stock Android.

I tested the preview on a Verizon Google Nexus running 4.0.3. After entering the server address and credentials, I was able to use the software to quickly connect to my company intranet and to view web sites there. Speed was good, and most things worked as expected.

My experience was not without a few glitches, though. The client crashed on me when I was looking at the debug logs and then refused to restart until I rebooted the phone. It also failed to reconnect automatically when I briefly went out of wireless range, and wouldn't connect to URLs using nonstandard ports like 8080 instead of 80. Hopefully these wrinkles will be worked out in future updates.

Cisco AnyConnect for Ice Cream Sandwich supports easy to deploy, encrypted network connectivity on Android without rooting. With this release, Cisco provides the missing link for Android enterprise adoption.

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