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When you create a VPN connection in OS X, it creates an initial Configuration called "Default." You can then click the drop-down, and select "Add Configuration" to define additional server and login details.

Settings defined under "Advanced" (e.g. "Send all traffic", "DNS") will apply to all Configurations within this VPN.

Can anyone explain the purpose of this? Why would I create multiple configurations in one VPN connection, rather than creating multiple VPN connections? (Assuming the advanced settings would be the same, of course.)

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This is usually because a single VPN destination may have multiple methods of access for redundancy purposes.

So your VPN provider or office might have entry points - Points of Presence - in Chicago, New York, LA, and connecting to this VPN would result in it trying each POP in turn until the connection was established. Often, once in, you would use a common configuration despite the different entry point.

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