A Virtual Private Network ( V irtual P rivate N etwork – VPN ), as its name suggests, is a way to connect two computers using a public network such as the Internet (public network most commonly used for this purpose). To help you better understand, think of a company that needs to interconnect two of its affiliates. There are a few alternatives to work around the problem:
- Purchase wireless equipment and connect the branches through a radio link.
- Connect the two through a network cable, which may be totally unviable depending on the distance between them.
- Pay a private line (LP) so that the affiliates can communicate.
- Use a VPN.
These are the four most used resources by companies, but some of them may become financially or geographically infeasible, as is the case of items 1 , 2 and 3 . The best solution, in most cases, ends up being the VPN, because its cost is small compared to the other options.
Security and Privacy
Because the Internet is a public network, you need to create some security mechanisms so that information exchanged between the computers in a VPN can not be read by other people. The most commonly used protection is encryption, which ensures that the data transmitted by one of the computers on the network is the same as the other machines will receive.
Once encrypted, the data is then encapsulated and transmitted over the Internet, using the tunneling protocol, until it finds its destination.
Speaking of tunneling …
When talking about VPNs, the word tunneling becomes very present. Tunneling consists of creating a tunnel (suggestive, not ?!) so that the data can be sent without other users having access. The idea is the same as a road tunnel: an entrance, an exit and, who is outside, can not see who is passing through the interior.
How it works
To create a VPN network you do not need more than two (or more) computers connected to the Internet and a VPN program installed on each machine. The process for sending the data is as follows:
1st – The data is encrypted and encapsulated.
2. Some extra information, such as the IP number of the sending machine, is added to the data that will be sent so that the receiving computer can identify who sent the data packet.
3rd – The package containing all the data is sent through the “tunnel” created until the target computer.
4. The receiving machine will identify the sending computer through the information attached to the data packet.
5th – The data is received and decapsulated.
6º – Finally the data is decrypted and stored on the destination computer.
VPN networks are widely used by large companies, especially those in which employees travel frequently or work from home, for example. But nothing prevents ordinary users in their day-to-day use virtual private networks.
However, if the data transmission time is crucial for the company or the user, this type of network may not be the right one, as they depend directly on the available Internet speed, which can lead to delays and problems Which the technician or users will have no control.
For the implementation of virtual private networks, it is necessary to have a good domain of the content of networks like: protocols, IPs, masks of network, gateways, etc. In addition, it takes a lot of study and a careful analysis regarding the security, costs and facilities that the service will bring to the company.
But perhaps most importantly, especially in the case of enterprises, is the performance offered by the VPN network service, since the transmission of data by these networks is usually slower and requires a reasonably fast Internet.
The best way to decide whether or not it’s worth it is to weigh the pros and cons of using VPN and see which side weighs the most!