VPN - Virtual Private Network
A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running on a computing device, e.g. a laptop, desktop, smartphone, across a VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network. Encryption is a common though not an inherent part of a VPN connection.
At its most basic level, VPN tunneling creates a point-to-point connection that cannot be accessed by unauthorized users. To actually create the VPN tunnel, the endpoint device needs to be running a VPN client (software application) locally or in the cloud. The VPN client runs in the background and is not noticeable to the end user unless there are performance issues.
The performance of a VPN can be affected by a variety of factors, among them the speed of users' internet connections, the types of protocols an internet service provider may use and the type of encryption the VPN uses. In the enterprise, performance can also be affected by poor quality of service (QoS) outside the control of an organization's information technology (IT) department.
Consumers use a virtual private network software to protect their online activity and identity. By using an anonymous VPN service, a user's Internet traffic and data remain encrypted, which prevents eavesdroppers from sniffing Internet activity. Personal VPN services are especially useful when accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots because the public wireless services might not be secure. In addition to public Wi-Fi security, it also provides consumers with uncensored Internet access and can help prevent data theft and unblock websites.
Companies and organizations will typically use a VPN security to communicate confidentially over a public network and to send voice, video or data. It is also an excellent option for remote workers and organizations with global offices and partners to share data in a private manner.
Types of VPNs
- Remote access VPN. Remote access VPN clients connect to a VPN gateway server on the organization's network. The gateway requires the device to authenticate its identity before granting access to internal network resources such as file servers, printers and intranets. This type of VPN usually relies on either IP Security (IPsec) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to secure the connection.
- Site-to-site VPN. In contrast, a site-to-site VPN uses a gateway device to connect an entire network in one location to a network in another location. End-node devices in the remote location do not need VPN clients because the gateway handles the connection. Most site-to-site VPNs connecting over the internet use IPsec. It is also common for them to use carrier MPLS clouds rather than the public internet as the transport for site-to-site VPNs.
- Mobile VPN. In a mobile VPN, a VPN server still sits at the edge of the company network, enabling secure tunneled access by authenticated, authorized VPN clients. Mobile VPN tunnels are not tied to physical IP addresses, however. Instead, each tunnel is bound to a logical IP address. That logical IP address sticks to the mobile device no matter where it may roam.
- VPN Hardware. It offer a number of advantages over the software-based VPN. In addition to enhanced security, hardware VPNs can provide load balancing to handle large client loads. Administration is managed through a Web browser interface. A hardware VPN is more expensive than a software VPN. Because of the cost, hardware VPNs are a more realistic option for large businesses than for small businesses or branch offices.
- VPN appliance. A VPN appliance, also known as a VPN gateway appliance, is a network device equipped with enhanced security features. Also known as an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN appliance, it is in effect a router that provides protection, authorization, authentication and encryption for VPNs.
- Dynamic multipoint virtual private network (DMVPN). A dynamic multipoint virtual private network (DMVPN) is a secure network that exchanges data between sites without needing to pass traffic through an organization's headquarter virtual private network (VPN) server or router.
- VPN Reconnect. VPN Reconnect is a feature of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 that allows a virtual private network connection to remain open during a brief interruption of Internet service. Usually, when a computing device using a VPN connection drops its Internet connection, the end user has to manually reconnect to the VPN. VPN Reconnect keeps the VPN tunnel open for a configurable amount of time so when Internet service is restored, the VPN connection is automatically restored as well.
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F.A.Q. about VPN - Virtual Private Network
What is VPN software?
VPN software is a tool that allows users to create a secure, encrypted connection over a computer network such as the Internet. The platform was developed to allow for secure access to business applications and other resources.
So what does VPN do? Basically, a VPN is a group of computers or networks, which are connected over the Internet. For businesses, VPN services serve as avenues for getting access to networks when they are not physically on the same network. Such a service can also be used to encrypt communications over public networks.
VPNs are usually deployed through local installation or by logging on to a service’s website. To give you an idea as to how VPN works, the software allows your computer to basically exchange keys with a remote server, through which all data traffic is encrypted and kept secure, safe from prying eyes. It lets you browse the Internet without the worry of being tracked, monitored and identified without permission. A VPN also helps in accessing blocked sites and in circumventing censorship.
What are the features of VPN software?
There are a variety of ways by which you can determine what VPN suits you. Here are some features of software VPN solutions and buying factors that you should consider:
- Privacy: You should know what kind of privacy you really need. Is it for surfing, downloading or simply accessing blocked sites? Best of VPN programs offer one or more of these capabilities.
- Software/features: Platforms should not be limited to ease of use, they should include features such as kill switches and DNS leak prevention tools which provide a further layer of protection.
- Security: One should consider the level of security that a service offers. This can prevent hackers and agencies from accessing your data.
- Cross-platform support: A VPN solution should be able to run on any device. To do this, setup guides for different platforms should be provided by the vendor.
- The number of servers/countries: For these services, the more servers VPN there are, the better the service. This allows users to connect from virtually all over the world. It will also enable them to change their locations at will.
- Speed: It’s common knowledge that using VPN comes with reduction in Internet speed. This is due to the fact that signals need to travel long distances and the demands of the encryption and decryption processes. Choose a service that has minimal impact on Internet speed.
- Simultaneous connections: Many services allow users to use only one device at a time. However, many VPN service providers allow customers to connect multiple devices all at the same time.