MSC3K is a replacement front end for Cisco's VPN client software user interface on Mac OS X. It provides several niceties that are not included in the Cisco GUI client application, including a menu bar status icon and menu, dock icon connection indicator, dock menu control, keychain support, and more.  it does require that the low-level Cisco software be installed.

System Requirements:

• Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard).

• Cisco 3000 VPN client software (a Tiger- or Leopard-compatible version).

Release Notes:


• Switched to version numbers greater than 1.0 (since the last version was 0.20 and there was a 0.13, I'm calling this one 1.4 to avoid confusion).

• Switched to using Sparkle for update notification and downloading.

• Fixed a bug where check for updates on startup was being controlled by the wrong checkbox in Preferences.


• Compiled as a Universal Binary for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

• This version requires Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) or later. If this is a problem for anyone, let me know.

• Added Restart VPN Driver menu commands to menubar extra and dock menu.

• Added an error dialog when connecting fails.

• Added a preferences to control the output of status information to the console (which is mostly useful for debugging connection problems, but now that there are error dialogs, this is less important).

• Fixed a crash on launch when the VPN command line tool is not installed. (Thanks MelissaG.)


• Fixed a problem with Cisco VPN version 4.6 where the Connect button was always disabled (seems they changed the result returned by the "stat" command under that condition). (Thanks, KevinT and TimG)


• Changed order of looking at directories for the VPN command line tool.  This should deal with problem of using an old, left over command line tool when there is a newer version installed. (Thanks, TimG)

• Made version number in about box dynamically populated based on version from Info.plist file.


• Fixed bug: Connecting without tabbing out of the Password field would not use the value that had just been entered. (Thanks, JonC)


• Initial release. All major functionality present.


• Connects to Cisco 3000 VPN servers via an existing Cisco 3000 client installation (using the command line tools provided in the install).

• Replaces the Cisco "VPNClient" application as a front end to the connection process.  If you need to edit configuration files, you will still have to use the VPNClient application (or some other means), but otherwise you can usually do your day-to-day VPN work via MSC3K.

• Optionally stores your VPN password on the Keychain — encrypted, password-protected, and away from prying eyes.

• Provides connection status information and control in the menu bar via an optional status item.

• Provides status via changes to dock icon and connection control via dock icon menu.

• Allows stopping, starting, and restarting of the VPN kernel extension.  Mostly this is useful when the kernel extension stops responding to connection requests.

• Can connect automatically on launch.

• Can disconnect (or stay connected) on quit.

• Automatically disconnects VPN when computer goes to sleep.

• Can automatically try to reconnect when computer is reawakened if it was connected when put to sleep.

Not yet implemented features and known issues:

• AppleScript support has not yet been added.

• There is not yet an icon for the menu bar to indicate when the VPN status is in an error condition (due to the kernel extension having been stopped, etc.)

• When reconnecting after sleep, it doesn't try again if the first attempt fails due to the network not yet being available.  This seems to be an issue on machines connecting via AirPort more-so than Ethernet-connected computers.  Also, error messages are not shown when reconnecting after sleep since often that happens when changing the machine's location (i.e. bringing it into the office).

• I'm planning to add configurable (and optional) hot key support, which would provide a keyboard shortcut that could be used for connecting to or disconnecting from VPN.

• For Tiger, I'm considering to make a Dashboard widget that can be used to see the status of VPN (as well as to connect and disconnect).

Copyright © 2005-2008, Troy Gaul.