Virtual private network (VPN) is a type of network technology that is designed to create a very secure network connection over a public network such as those at WiFi hotspots or even the private network that is owned by a specified service provider. Several educational institutions and government agencies as well as large corporations are using the virtual private network technology to allow remote users to securely connect to their private network. Virtual private networks also allow multiple connections over long distances much like a wide area network (WAN). VPNs are mainly used to extend intranets all over the world to disseminate information as well as news to a much wider user base. It enables the sharing of files and video conferencing as well as other similar network services. Virtual private networks do not provide any additional functions other than the ones existing now. What they only do is to implement those services in a more efficient manner, in a cheaper way, and retains better security because it is a restricted network.
A very unique feature in the virtual private networks is their great ability to work as an anonymous private network and also in the public networks just like the internet. Utilizing a technique called tunneling, virtual private network is using the same hardware infrastructure like the existing Internet and even the intranets links. VPN evolved to include many security strategies so as to protect the virtual and private connections. It is capable of supporting at least three modes of use that are different i.e. controlled access within the intranet, Internet remote access connection, and as LAN to LAN inter-networking.
Remote Access for VPN’s Internet
Recently several organizations have improved the mobility of their employees by allowing more workers to telecommute. Some workers continue to make long commutes and yet face the growing need to stay connected to their company networks. A virtual private network can be easily created so as to support remote and protected access to the business home offices through the Internet. A VPN solution from the Internet utilizes the client/server design as follows:
First the remote client in need of logging into the organization network must be connected to any public server.
From there, the host now begins VPN connections directly to the organization VPN server. This kind of connection is facilitated by the VPN client that is installed on the remote host.
As soon as the connection has been made, the remote client then communicates with the internal organization systems through the Internet just the same way as if they were a local host.
So prior to VPNs, the remote employees did access the company networks over the dial-up type of remote access servers. Unlike these older VPN clients, an Internet VPN is the exceptional alternative.
Inter-Networking from Virtual Private Networks
Apart from using VPN for just remote access, a virtual private network can also bridge several networks together. In this way, an entire remote can easily join to different organization networks to create an extended intranet. This kind of solution utilizes the VPN server to VPN server connection.
Local Networks for Virtual Private Networks
Internal networks may use VPN technology in order to carry out controlled access to the various individuals subnets contained within a given private network. Using this method, the VPN clients are supposed to obtain connection to a VPN server that acts as a gateway. This type of virtual private network utilization is unique in the sense that it does not involve the use of Internet service providers (ISP) or public network cabling. While this mode of VPN use does not require an ISP, however, it provides the security advantages of VPN to be deployed within a company.
What Are the Benefits of A VPN?
A VPN can save organization money in several situations:
- Removing the need for an expensive over long-distance leased lines
- Lowers the long-distance phone cost
- Offloading support charges
Support costs – With VPNs, the cost required for maintaining servers is less compared to the other approaches simply because organizations are able to outsource the much needed tech support to professional and third-party service providers. These providers are able to charge less because of the economies of scale through the servicing of many business customers.
What Are the Disadvantages Of a VPN
Despite their fame, VPNs are not ideal and limitations exist as is very true for any kind of technology. Organizations should consider issues like the ones below when deploying one as well as using virtual private networks in their mode of operations:
VPNs do require more technical knowledge when it comes to network security related issues and careful installation or configuration is important. This ensures you have adequate protection on a public network just like Internet.
The dependability as well as the performance of Internet-based VPN isn’t under a company’s direct control. Instead, the alternative relies on the ISP. Access speed declines as the user who is trying to access the virtual private network increases distance away from the server.
Sometimes, VPN products from different vendors are not always compatible due to issues with different tech standards. Attempting to mix equipment may cause a technical problems, and using equipment from single provider may not yield much savings.
VPN and Network Scalability
The cost incurred by an organization with a dedicated private network is reasonable when small but rises exponentially as the company grows. A company that has got two branch offices can deploy just one dedicated line to connect the two locations, but 4 branch offices require 6 lines to directly connect them to each other, etc
Internet based VPNs evade this scalability crisis by simply tapping the public lines and network readily available. Particularly for remote as well as international locations, an Internet VPN offers superior reach and quality of service.
In summary, VPNs are a great way to maintain privacy and avoid transmitting sensitive data over public networks. Even though load times may increase with distance, they serve the purpose for which they were intended – privacy & security.