Types of VPNs and VPN protocols

A VPN is a convenient tool that lets you browse the internet, stream content, play games and more, in a secure and private way. When you use a VPN, an encrypted connection is established and all your traffic is directed through it. Your communications and online activities remain secure, thanks to the encryption applied because this prevents others from seeing what you are up to. In this article, we will discuss the main two different kinds of VPNs available, as well as the types of VPN protocols that you will find.

VPN Types

Here is more about the two main types of VPNs available:

Remote Access VPN

Remote Access VPN enables you to connect to a private network and get access to services and resources from a different location. The connection between you and the private network is established over the internet and it is protected. Remote Access VPN is a convenient solution for businesses and it can also be handy for home users. If you are travelling or are working from home, you can use a VPN to access your work’s private network. This will allow you to get remote access to your company’s files and resources on the private network. In the case of home users, a VPN can be used to get around geographical blocks that prevent you from accessing online content. A VPN also adds a high level of protection for your internet traffic, giving you security against hacking and other threats, and keeping your data private.

Site to Site VPN

Site to Site VPN or Router to Router VPN is a type of VPN that is mainly used for corporate related purposes. A Site-to-Site VPN allows companies with offices around the world to establish secure connections between different locations. Intranet based VPN refers to multiple offices of the same company that are connected using Site-to-Site VPN. Extranet based VPN is when companies rely on Site-to-site VPN to establish a connection to the office of a different company. Site-to-site VPN establishes a virtual bridge between the networks at offices that are in different locations and it establishes a secure and private communication between the networks. A Site-to-site VPN is based on Router-to-Router communication and in this kind of VPN, one router acts as a VPN client and a different router acts as a VPN Server. The communication that is established between the two routers is only initiated when an authentication between the two, has been validated.

Types of VPN protocols

There are different VPN security protocols in which the two main types of VPNs rely on. Each of these protocols provide a variety of features and they support different levels of security. Let’s take a closer look at what is in offer.

PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

PPTP is a widely avalable protocol that establishes a tunnel and that encapsulates the data packet. It relies on a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) in order to encrypt the data between the connection. PPTP is a protocol that has been around for quite a while and it works on Windows, Mac and Linux. While it is easy to set up, it is considered as weak.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)

SSL and TLS can establish a VPN connection in which the browser works as the client and user access is only available to specific applications, rather than the entire network. Online shopping websites and service providers use SSL and TLS protocol. In addition, web browsers can switch to SSL without issues and almost automatically, because they come with SSL and TLS built-in. SSL connections feature https at the start of the URL instead of http. This indicates their security.

Internet Protocol Security or IPSec

This protocol is used to add security to Internet communication across an IP network. When IPSec is in use, the Internet Protocol is secured by authenticating the session and each data packet is encrypted during the connection. In order to protect the data transfer between two different networks, IPSec works in two modes: Tunneling mode and the Transport mode. The latter encrypts the message in the data packet and the tunneling mode encrypts the whole data packet. It is also possible to use IPSec with other security protocols to improve the security system.

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol L2TP

This is a tunneling protocol that can be used along with other VPN security protocol, usually IPSec, in order to establish a VPN connection with a high level of security. L2TP establishes a tunnel between two L2TP connection points, while IPSec looks after the data encryption and it also manages secure communications across the tunnel.

Secure Shell (SSH)

Commonly known as SSH, Secure Shell establishes a VPN tunnel through which the data is transferred, making sure that it is encrypted. A SSH client establishes a SSH connection by a SSH client and the data is transferred from a local port on the remote server via the encrypted tunnel.

OpenVPN

This is an open source protocol that is recognized for its security and reliability. It can be used to establish Point-to-Point and Site-to-Site connections. OpenVPN works with a custom security protocol that is based on SSL and TLS.

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