Accelerating VPN Performance with SafeXcel Crypto on pfSense 23.09-RELEASE (arm64)


The pfSense 23.09-RELEASE has brought a welcome addition to its suite of security features for Netgate 1100 users: the SafeXcel Crypto setting. This new feature is targeted at enhancing the already robust VPN performance by leveraging dedicated hardware acceleration.

What is SafeXcel Crypto?

SafeXcel Crypto is a hardware acceleration technology that boosts the performance of cryptographic operations. When activated, it allows the system to handle encryption and decryption processes for VPN connections more efficiently. It supports a range of encryption algorithms including AES-CBC, AES-CCM, AES-GCM, and more.

How Does it Benefit VPN Performance?

By activating SafeXcel Crypto, VPN operations are no longer solely dependent on the CPU’s general capabilities. Instead, they utilize dedicated hardware designed specifically for cryptographic functions. This results in:

  • Increased Throughput: Data can be encrypted and decrypted at a faster rate, allowing for higher data transmission speeds through the VPN.
  • Reduced CPU Load: Offloading these tasks from the main CPU helps in reducing the overall load, which is particularly beneficial for systems under heavy use.
  • Enhanced Security: With dedicated resources for cryptographic operations, security protocols can function more robustly.

How to Activate SafeXcel Crypto

Activating SafeXcel Crypto in the new pfSense 23.09-RELEASE is straightforward. Navigate to System > Advanced > Miscellaneous in the pfSense GUI and enable the SafeXcel Crypto option. Make sure to configure your IPsec to use one of the supported ciphers to take full advantage of this feature.

Final Thoughts

The addition of SafeXcel Crypto to pfSense’s security arsenal reinforces Netgate’s commitment to delivering top-notch performance and security. With the ease of activation and the promise of better VPN performance, SafeXcel Crypto is set to be a game-changer for businesses and individuals alike who depend on VPNs for secure, reliable connectivity.

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