The IPsec protocol that has served remote access so well for the last decade is now in its death throes, Gartner has prophesised.

In a new report, it predicted that by 2008, the use of IPsec will have been swept away by its younger technological rival, SSL, for much of the market. By that year, two-thirds of teleworking remote access employees - and 90 percent of casual access users - will have adopted SSL.

In the last three years, SSL has attracted three million concurrent users, but by 2008 this figure will have jumped to a global total of 41 million. The dramatic growth will allow 100 million employees to work at home for at least one day per month.

The downside of SSL’s rise is that end-point security will require more attention, both in terms of client security and the management of increasingly complex SSL access policies.

IPsec will survive in some networks for the time being because it does offer limited advantages in some installations, including a choice of encryption algorithms, its ability to bridge different locations securely, and its low latency for legacy applications.

"IPsec served by a high-quality WAN connection remains a good choice for users with managed workstations who need persistent high-speed remote access connections to a corporate LAN," the report said.

Gartner puts Juniper and SSL pioneer Aventail in the much-coveted top left location magic quadrant” chart, citing the companies as leaders in SSL technology.