VPN types and protocols
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows the user to connect to a private network over the Internet with security and privacy. A VPN creates an encrypted connection called a VPN tunnel, and all internet traffic and communications are passed through this secure tunnel.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) mainly consists of two types:
- VPN remote access:
Remote Access VPN allows the user to connect to a private network and access all its services and resources remotely. The communication between the user and the private network takes place over the Internet and the connection is secure and private. Remote Access VPN is useful for home users and business users alike.
An employee of a company, while outside the station, uses a VPN to connect to his company’s private network and remotely access files and resources on the private network. Private users or home VPN users mainly use VPN services to bypass regional restrictions on the internet and access blocked websites. Internet security conscious users also use VPN services to enhance their internet security and privacy.
- Site to Site VPN:
Site-to-Site VPN is also called Router-to-Router VPN and is commonly used by large companies. Companies or organizations, which have branch offices in different locations, use a site-to-site VPN to connect the network of one office location to the network at another office location.
- VPN based on intranet: When multiple offices of the same company are connected using a Site-to-Site type of VPN, it is called intranet based VPN.
- Extranet-based VPN: When companies use a Site-to-site VPN to connect to another company’s office, it’s called an extranet-based VPN.
Essentially, a site-to-site VPN creates a virtual bridge between networks in geographically remote offices, connects them over the Internet, and maintains a secure and private connection between networks. In Site-to-site VPN one router acts as VPN client and another router as VPN server because it depends on router-to-router connection. Only when the authentication is verified between the two routers is the connection started.
Types of VPN Protocols:
- Internet Protocol Security (IPSec):
Internet Protocol Security, known as IPSec, is used to secure the Internet connection over an IP network. IPSec secures the Internet Protocol connection by checking the session and encrypts each data packet during the connection.
IPSec works in two modes:
- (i) Transport mode
- (2) Tunneling mode
The work of the transport mode is to encrypt the message in the data packet and the tunneling mode encrypts the entire data packet. IPSec can also be used with other security protocols to improve the security system.
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP):
L2TP or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol is a tunneling protocol that is often combined with another VPN security protocol like IPSec to create a highly secure VPN connection. L2TP creates a tunnel between two L2TP connection points and IPSec encrypts the data and maintains the secure connection between the tunnels.
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP):
PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol creates a tunnel and restricts the data packet. Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) is used to encrypt the data between the connection. PPTP is one of the most widely used VPN protocols and has been in use since the first version of Windows. PPTP is also used on Mac and Linux apart from Windows.
- SSL and TLS:
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) create a VPN connection where the web browser acts as a client and blocks user access to specific applications rather than the entire network. Online shopping sites usually use SSL and TLS protocol. It is easy to switch to SSL via web browsers and almost no action required from the user as web browsers come with SSL and TLS built-in. SSL connections contain “https” in the first URL instead of “http”.
OpenVPN is an open source VPN commonly used to establish point-to-point and site-to-site connections. It uses a traditional security protocol based on the SSL and TLS protocol.
- Secure Shell (SSH):
Secure Shell or SSH creates a VPN tunnel through which the data is transmitted and also ensures that the tunnel is encrypted. SSH connections are established by an SSH client and data is transferred from a local port to the remote server via the encrypted tunnel.