What is a vpn?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) supplies network connectivity over large physical distances. In this respect, a VPN is a form of Wide Area Network (WAN). A Virtual Private Network benefits by enabling file sharing, video conferencing and similar network services. Virtual private networks generally don't provide any new functionality that isn't already offered through alternative mechanisms, but a VPN implements those services more efficiently / cheaply in most cases. A key feature of a VPN is its ability to work over both private networks as well as public networks like the Internet. Using a method called tunneling, a VPN uses the same hardware infrastructure as existing Internet or intranet links. VPN technologies includes various security mechanisms to protect the virtual, private connections.
Specifically, a VPN supports at least three different modes of use:
- Internet remote access client connections
- LAN-to-LAN internetworking
- Controlled access within an intranet
In recent years, North Sydney IT have increased the mobility of our customers by allowing more employees to telecommute. Employees continue to travel and face a growing need to stay connected to their company networks. A VPN can be set up to support remote, protected access to the company office over the Internet. An Internet VPN solution uses a client/server design works as follows:
- A remote host (client) wanting to log into the company network first connects to any public ISP.
- Next, the host initiates a VPN connection to the company VPN server. This connection is made via a VPN client installed on the remote host.
- Once the connection has been established, the remote client can communicate with the internal company systems over the Internet just as if it were a local host. Before VPNs, remote workers accessed company networks over private leased lines or through dialup remote access servers. While VPN clients and servers require careful installation of hardware and software, an Internet VPN is a superior solution in many situations.
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