Many NAT firewalls or VPN server time out idle sessions after a certain period of time to keep their trunks clean. Sometimes the interval between session drops is 24 hours, but on many commodity firewalls, connections are killed after as little as 300 seconds, and this can be a problem if you are working on a remote machine and suddenly you find yourself logged out with a message “Connection reset by peer”.
In a former article I’ve presented autossh, a solution that comes to your help when you want to be sure that a SSH connection stay always on between 2 machines. Autossh is a simple program that allows you to run an instance of ssh, keep it under control, and restart the same instance once that the connection is dropped up to a maximum number of times controlled by an environment variable.
This is useful if you need to have a “permanent” connection between 2 machines, but perhaps you just need to have a connection between your personal computer and different servers, and in these cases autossh is less useful, so let’s see how to use some openssh options to keep our connection open.