DevCentral Basics - What are F5 Access and BIG-IP Edge Clients?

tl;dr - F5 Access and BIG-IP Edge are VPN clients that connect to APM access policies for L3 network connectivity.

Building on the DevCentral Basics article What is BIG-IP APM, a few questions remain.  How do mobile clients access web application resources?  How can I easily turn on and off VPN connectivity? The question distill down to connectivity options for clients connecting to BIG-IP APM infrastructure. Users are limited to using web client connectivity which may not always be a preferred or allowed option.  F5 provides several client-based options for connectivity to BIG-IP APM.

F5 Access

DevCentral Basics - F5 Access on AndroidWhen used in conjunction with BIG-IP APM access policies, F5 Access provides traditional L3 VPN connectivity to your corporate resources. F5 Access is supported on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, iOS, and Android.  Currently the client features does not have parity across the different operating systems for various reasons. For a complete supported version matrix please see the F5 Apps Compatibility Matrix.

F5 Edge Client

As of version 3.0 the F5 Edge Client is renamed to the above F5 Access client. Prior to the 3.0 version, F5's Edge Client was the preferred client solution for L3 VPN access. This client is still supported through BIG-IP version 13 but will be eventually deprecated as the F5 Access client matures into full feature compliancy.

F5 Edge Portal

We previously discussed BIG-IP APM's Web Portal gateway, allowing policy-based granular access to web applications directly instead of requiring full VPN.  The F5 Edge Portal offers a client version of the Web Portal for easier mobile access to web portal applications.  The F5 Edge Portal will not continue support into iOS 11 or Android 8.  Please the EOL plans:  F5 BIG-IP Edge Portal - End of Support and End of Availability Announcement.

As the BIG-IP APM product evolves and customer security requirements and requests changes, we'll continue to keep updating our client functionality to anticipate those requirements.  The F5 Access client is the future of BIG-IP client connectivity for those who don't wish to use the web client offered with BIG-IP APM.  We'll keep you updated here and through AskF5, our authoritative support resource.  Please check out the below links for more information on F5 client functionality, supportability, and how to configure your client access policies.  As always, please let us know any content you would like to see expanded.

Happy Networking!

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