Understanding the concept of virtual private networking is extremely important for people who wish to get a better grasp of the internet. Basically, as the name suggests, a 'virtual private network' is designed to create a private network over a larger, public network, commonly the internet. It provides a computer, or a node, with the capability of sending and receiving data over a public or a shared network, in a manner as if it was still connected to a private network. Even though the data is mainly being shared over a public network, the computer is able to take advantage of the management policies, security and functionality of a private network. Creating a VPN might not be easy, but it does require the use of a point to point connection by creating dedicated connections, virtual tunneling protocols as well as encrypting the traffic.
Basically, the creation of a virtual private network is very similar to the creation of a wide area network that is created between two different sites. From the perspective of the user, the resources of the network are made accessible in a manner similar to that of the resources which are available within a private network. The uses of a VPN are quite large. First and foremost, it allows company officials who are traveling to be able to access the intranet of their company from the outside. On the other hand, branches of an office can be connected under one 'dome' with the help of a virtual private network, hence resulting in the creation of one large, combined network. Perhaps the most common use of a virtual private network is that it allows internet users to be able to access the internet without having to expose their location or their personal identity.
They can be differentiated by their uses, such as:
- the protocols which are used for channeling the traffic in a tunnel
- the level of security that they provide
- the location of the termination point of the tunnel
- Whether the VPN system provides remote access connectivity or whether it offers site to site connectivity.
- the layer of OSI that is presented when creating a connection to the network. Common examples include layer 2 and layer 3 circuits of network connectivity.
In order to make sure that the data being tunneled through a virtual private network remains secure, common virtual private networks mainly make use of authentication processes when it comes to remote access and also use several encryption methods. In today's world, virtual private networks are most commonly used by students and officials who wish to access restricted websites from their company's computers. It is also used quite commonly by citizens of countries who suffer from internet censorship. Common examples of software programs that create a virtual private network include Hotspot Shield, Ultra Surf and TorVPN. Most programs that allow you to create a virtual private network are available for free.
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