Manual Chapter : BIG-IP Edge Client and F5 Access for macOS

Applies To:

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BIG-IP APM

  • 13.1.1, 13.1.0
Manual Chapter

BIG-IP Edge Client and F5 Access for macOS

Requirements for client installation and use on Mac

The table lists requirements for installing and using client components on a macOS system. These requirements apply to the Network Access client component that is downloaded from the browser and to BIG-IP Edge Client for Mac and F5 Access for macOS.
Requirement
Specification
Browser
For App Tunnels to work, the browser must have Java enabled. For installation, Java is optional. The client uses Java to streamline the installation process only. Without Java, users can manually download and install the client packages.
Java App Tunnels are supported on Edge Client only.
Installation privilege
The remote user must have superuser authority, or, must be able to supply an administrative password to successfully install the Network Access client.

About browser-based connections from Linux, Mac, and Windows clients

For Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows-based systems, the Network Access client component is available for automatic download from the BIG-IP® system.
The client component supports secure remote web-based access to the network. It is not the same as the customizable client package that is associated with the connectivity profile.
The first time a remote user starts Network Access, APM® downloads a client component. This client component is designed to be self-installing and self-configuring. If the browser does not meet certain requirements, APM prompts the user to download the client component and install it manually.

Overview: Configuring and installing Edge Client for Mac

Users of BIG-IP®Edge Client®for Mac can connect securely and automatically to your network while roaming using the automatic reconnect, password caching, and location awareness features of Edge Client. You can customize the client package; you must download it and make it available to users as hosted content on the BIG-IP system, or through another delivery mechanism.

Task summary

About Edge Client location awareness

The BIG-IP Edge Client provides a location-awareness feature. Using location awareness, the client connects automatically only when it is not on a specified network. The administrator specifies the networks that are considered in-network, by adding DNS suffixes to the connectivity profile. With a location-aware client enabled, a user with a corporate laptop can go from a corporate office, with a secured wireless or wired network connection, to an offsite location with a public wireless network connection, and maintain a seamless connection to allowed corporate resources. Network location-awareness can be triggered to run because of various reasons, such as IP changes and network interfaces starting up or shutting down. In reconnect mode, Edge Client might briefly establish a VPN tunnel before the network location-awareness feature can disconnect it.
BIG-IP Edge Client provides three mechanisms to detect network locations:
  • Compare the DNS suffix list on adapters with the configured network location.
  • Check if the domain controller for the domain is reachable.
  • Resolve the DNS name of Active Directory server for the domain.
Checking the domain controller or resolving the DNS name is only performed if the VPN is not connected already. These checks pass if the VPN is connected or if the connection-specific DNS is set correctly. Because of this, the effective detection mechanism is to correctly set up connection-specific DNS suffixes via DHCP.
During a network switch, such as changing Wifi connections, Edge Client with network location-awareness must detect whether the new connection is local or remote. During this detection timeframe, there is a brief amount of time that Edge Client does not block certain external websites and can be reachable during the network switch.

About Edge Client automatic reconnection

BIG-IP Edge Client provides an automatic reconnection feature. This feature attempts to automatically reconnect the client system to corporate network resources whenever the client connection drops or ends prematurely.

Configuring a connectivity profile for Edge Client for Mac

Update the connectivity profile in your Network Access configuration to configure security settings, servers, and location-awareness for BIG-IP Edge Client for Mac.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    Connectivity
    Profiles
    .
    A list of connectivity profiles displays.
  2. Select the connectivity profile that you want to update and click
    Edit Profile
    .
    The Edit Connectivity Profile popup screen opens and displays General Settings.
  3. From the left pane of the popup screen, select
    Win/Mac Edge Client
    .
    Edge Client settings for Mac and Windows-based systems display in the right pane.
  4. Retain the default (selected) or clear the
    Save Servers Upon Exit
    check box.
    Specifies whether Edge Client maintains a list of recently used user-entered APM servers. Edge Client always lists the servers that are defined in the connectivity profile, and sorts them by most recent access, whether this option is selected or not.
  5. To support automatic reconnection without the need to provide credentials again, allow password caching.
    1. Select the
      Allow Password Caching
      check box.
      This check box is cleared by default.
      The remaining settings on the screen become available.
    2. To require device authentication to unlock the saved password, select
      Require Device Authentication.
      This option links the option to use a saved password to a device authentication method. Supported device authentication methods include PIN, passphrase, and biometric (fingerprint) authentication on iOS and Android. Android devices also support pattern unlocking.
    3. From the
      Save Password Method
      list, select
      disk
      or
      memory
      .
      If you select
      disk
      , Edge Client caches the user's password (in encrypted form) securely on the disk where it is persisted even after the system is restarted or Edge Client is restarted.
      If you select
      memory
      ,  Edge Client caches the user's password within the BIG-IP Edge Client application for automatic reconnection purposes.
      If you select
      memory
      , the
      Password Cache Expiration (minutes)
      field displays with a default value of 240.
    4. If the
      Password Cache Expiration (minutes)
      field displays, retain the default value or type the number of minutes to save the password in memory.
  6. To enable automatic download and update of client packages, from the
    Component Update
    list, select
    yes
    (default).
    If you select
    yes
    , APM updates Edge Client software automatically on the client system when newer versions are available.
  7. Specify the list of APM servers to provide when the client connects.
    The servers you add here display as connection options in the BIG-IP Edge Client.
    Users can select from these servers or they can type a hostname.
    1. From the left pane of the popup screen, select
      Server List
      .
      A table displays in the right pane.
    2. Click
      Add
      .
      A table row becomes available for update.
    3. You must type a host name in the
      Host Name
      field.
      Typing an alias in the
      Alias
      field is optional.
    4. Click
      Update
      .
      The new row is added at the top of the table.
    5. Continue to add servers, and when you are done, click
      OK
      .
  8. Specify DNS suffixes that are considered to be in the local network.
    Providing a list of DNS suffixes for the download package enables Edge Client to support the autoconnect option. With
    Auto-Connect
    selected, Edge Client uses the DNS suffixes to automatically connect when a client is not on the local network (not on the list) and automatically disconnect when the client is on the local network.
    1. From the left pane of the popup screen, select
      Location DNS List
      .
      Location DNS list information is displayed in the right pane.
    2. Click
      Add
      .
      An update row becomes available.
    3. Type a name and click
      Update
      .
      Type a DNS suffix that conforms to the rules specified for the local network.
      The new row displays at the top of the table.
    4. Continue to add DNS names and when you are done, click
      OK
      .
  9. Click
    OK
    .
    The popup screen closes, and the Connectivity Profile List displays.

Customizing a downloadable client package for Mac

Customize a Mac client package for a connectivity profile to specify whether to launch BIG-IP Edge Client after a user logs in to the Mac.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    Connectivity
    Profiles
    .
    A list of connectivity profiles displays.
  2. Select a connectivity profile.
  3. Click the arrow on the
    Customize Package
    button and select
    Mac
    .
    The Customize Mac Client Package screen displays.
  4. Retain the selection or clear the
    Auto launch BIG-IP Edge Client after User Log In
    check box.
  5. Click Download.
    The customized package,
    BIGIPMacEdgeClient.zip
    , is downloaded to your client. It is available for you to distribute.
If you plan to distribute Mac client packages to your users and you customize multiple Mac client packages (for different connectivity profiles), you need to rename or otherwise organize the packages. Otherwise, your download location contains packages named
BIGIPMacEdgeClient.zip
,
BIGIPMacEdgeClient.zip(1)
, and so on.

Downloading the ZIP file for Edge Client for Mac

You can download a Mac Client package and distribute it to clients.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    Connectivity
    Profiles
    .
    A list of connectivity profiles displays.
  2. Select a connectivity profile.
  3. Click the arrow on the
    Customize Package
    button and select
    Mac
    .
    The Customize Mac Client Package screen displays.
  4. Click
    Download
    .
    The screen closes and the package,
    BIGIPMacEdgeClient.zip
    , downloads.
The ZIP file includes a Mac installer package (PKG) file and configuration settings.

Specifying applications to start on a Mac

The launch application feature specifies a client application that starts when the client begins a Network Access session. You can use this feature when you have remote clients who routinely use Network Access to connect to an application server, such as a mail server.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    Network Access (VPN)
    Network Access Lists
    .
    The Network Access Lists screen opens.
  2. In the Name column, click the name of the network access resource you want to edit.
  3. To configure applications to start for clients that establish a Network Access connection with this resource, click
    Launch Applications
    on the menu bar.
  4. Click
    Add
    to add an application list.
  5. In the
    Application Path
    field, type
    open
    .
  6. In the
    Parameters
    field, type a parameter.
    For example, type
    -a/Applications/ie.app http://www.f5.com
    .
  7. From the
    Operating System
    list, select
    Mac
    .
  8. Click
    Finished
    to add the configuration.
Now when remote users with assigned resources make a Network Access connection, the application you configured starts automatically.

Editing the log level for Edge Client on Mac

You can edit log settings in the configuration file on Mac systems.
  1. In the
    ~/Library/F5Networks.
    directory, open the
    f5networks.conf
    file.
  2. Edit the settings to change the log level.
    For debugging purposes, set the values to 48.

About connection options on Edge Client for Mac

User interface on a Mac
Screenshot Edge Client for Mac
BIG-IP®Edge Client® for Mac user interface displays these connection options.
Auto-Connect
Starts a secure access connection as it is needed. This option uses the DNS suffix information defined in the connectivity profile to determine when the computer is on a defined local network. When the computer is not on a defined local network, the secure access connection starts. When the computer is on a local network, the client disconnects, but remains active in the system tray. This option does not display if DNS suffixes were not defined.
Connect
Starts and maintains a secure access connection at all times, regardless of the network location.
Disconnect
Stops an active secure access connection, and prevents the client from connecting again until a user clicks
Connect
or
Auto-Connect
.

About Network Access features for Mac clients

Access Policy Manager (APM) supports all of the primary Network Access features for Mac clients, except for Drive Mappings and some endpoint security features.
For endpoint security support, refer to
BIG-IP APM Client Compatibility Matrix
on AskF5 at
http://support.f5.com/
.
For information about Network Access features, refer to
BIG-IP Access Policy Manager: Network Access
on AskF5 at
http://support.f5.com/
.

VPN component installation and log locations on a Mac

On Macintosh operating systems, the client installs the VPN components and writes VPN logs to the locations listed in the table.
VPN component
Location
Network Access plugin
/Library/Internet Plugins/
Endpoint Security (client checks)
~/Library/Internet Plugins/
VPN logs are written to the following directory:
~/Library/Logs/F5Networks
.