VPN Explained – What are Virtual Private Networks?

Defining or explaining what a VPN is one that is often up for discussion among communication providers and network consumers. If we take a look at the verbatim definition of the words Virtual Private Network, it can help us understand what it is and what it is not – VPN explained here.

Using the dictionary definitions of the component words, a VPN should be composed of the following:

Virtual – “in effect or essence, if not in fact or reality; imitated, simulated” Therefore, the first part means that it is something that acts like a hard-wired network, yet it is actually not.

Private – “belonging to, concerning, or accessible only to a person or a specific group” A VPN then is something where you, as the consumer, have exclusive use of the network links.

Network – “any interconnected group or system; multiple computers and other devices connected to share information” It is the goal of a VPN or any other type of network.

VPN explained in this way is a network technology that gives you the ability to share information with others on the network through a private, exclusive link created via the Internet.

Before the age of the Internet, computers in different places – offices, cities, or countries – can only talk to each other through traditional means: telephone wires. As the need for broader communication grew, higher volume wires replaced telephone wires, but the concept stays the same.

There had to be a physical wire connection for computer A to be able to talk to computer B. For security reasons, you would want to ensure that only those two are using that line, so you would agree with a vendor to rent that circuit. However, it was an expensive network that was hard to expand and difficult for you to have control over.

Internet and VPN

With the arrival of the Internet, connections need not be physical anymore. As long as every computer has access to the Internet, there can be a sharing of information using local ISP circuits across the Internet. It behaves the same way as physically connected computers would. This is the reason why VPN is considered a virtual network.

Security remains an ever-present concern in today’s world. In WAN arrangements of the past, how secure data transmission is, relies solely on the guarantees of the provider. However, these days, a VPN is able to keep information private through encryption on both the sender and the receiver.

There are various encryption protocols, which depend on the needs of the company, who the recipients are, and more. That data is encrypted as well as encapsulated, which means that it is sent in its own private connection or tunnel across the Internet.

Nobody can see the data. Even in the off chance that they could, they are unable to change or decipher it. With this, you can send information across the Internet without the worry of being susceptible to corruption or interception by people who are outside of the VPN.

To create a virtual private network, you will need to consider who needs to share information, how often, and in what direction. You would then have to prepare a listing of the software and hardware systems you currently use at every location.

You may have to make some changes so that computers can communicate with each other much more efficiently. Consider how vital it is that your data stays secure, as it will have an impact on what kind of protocol you choose. Having this information in hand will let you prepare for the discussions you will have with potential vendors.

Types of VPN Connection

Site to Site

This VPN connects an entire organization’s network to each other. For instance, it can connect a company headquarters’ system to a branch office network. Every site comes with a VPN gateway, like a VPN concentrator, firewall, router, or security appliance.

Remote Access

This VPN enables individual clients or hosts to access a company network over the Internet securely. Every host usually uses a web-based client or has VPN client software. Using secure data packets, users can transmit any kind of data, which includes media such as voice and video.

This technology is invaluable for people who are always on the move who need to have access or store information on a fixed private network. It has proven to be an essential tool in companies where employees are required to work away from a central office location.

Virtual Private Networks can be a real inevitability to any business, regardless of the scale on which you operate. This is true, especially if you have staff working away from the office, or working from home. A VPN provider can make sure that your team is able to work with the full benefits of a virtual office wherever they are.


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