Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is a VPN?

Torch, the asker of many great questions, asked today “What is a VPN really?” and I admit had to think about that for a while.

How do you define a Virtual Private Network in this modern world? There are lots of tools that have similar looking functionality, Remote Desktop tools and cloud services for example yet these are not VPNs. So what properties makes a VPN unique?

For me a VPN is an encrypted tunnel between a client and a server. It must involve a virtual (software) network adaptor on the client which connects to the VPN server to create the tunnel. Network traffic can then be securely routed via this Virtual Adaptor to the VPN server and the network resources behind it.

If I’ve failed to make sense (which is highly likely due to my propensity to assume everyone has a similar level of knowledge and background as I do) check out these definitions from highly reputable vendors of information.


Flicking through these articles i think the key concept to grasp, is that of encapsulation. In fact that concept is so intrinsic to all of networking it’s worth a post all of it’s own...

Got a different definition? Got something to add? Well that's what comments are for! Don't be shy... No one reads this blog anyway!

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