Have you ever wished you could access your office network or computer from
home or do you have multiple premises operating separate networks? If so a Virtual
Private Network (VPN) could be for you.
In this article we'll give an introduction to the world of Virtual Private
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (more commonly referred to as VPN for short) is a
secure private network that makes use of the public network infrastructure and
tunneling protocols to communicate on a secure channel.
Essentially your private Local Area Network (LAN) is connected to the internet
which is then used to send traffic to another location using various security
and encryption protocols.
How can it be used?
With the increasing availability of broadband internet and internet bandwidth
VPN's can be utilized in various ways to bring numerous benefits to your home
- Connecting geographically remote LAN's
- Consolidate and share network resources across multiple remote locations
e.g. servers, printers, intranet's
- Grant users remote access to local infrastructure
- Enable home and off site working
- Accessing your home or office PC's remotely
e.g. remote desktop
What do I need?
There are two main topologies to consider when thinking about VPN :
Where two remote sites are connected
An individual user is connecting to a LAN
Depending on your setup your requirements will be slightly different. For a
site to site setup you would typically need:
- A fixed IP address in both locations
- Two VPN routers or VPN firewall's
- Broadband internet connection at both locations
In a User-site setup you would need
- One fixed IP address for the site.
- One VPN router or VPN firewall.
- Broadband internet connection.
- User VPN internet connection and possibly VPN software.
How much will it cost?
Apart from the obvious need for internet connections the cost of a simpler
solution suited to small to medium businesses is usually minimal and there are
numerous sub £100 VPN firewall routers available on the market.
Fixed IP addresses are available from most good Internet Service Providers
although sometimes they are restricted to business broadband accounts and/or
are charged as extras.
If you require more advanced control over users and security then you may need
to look at more powerful VPN solutions (for example Microsoft
The purpose of this article is to raise the awareness of Virtual Private Networking
and the details of it's implementation are beyond the scope however we have
identified various useful links below including a more detailed VPN
tutorial from about.com.
Many home and small to medium business users aren't aware of the Virtual Private
Networking or their benefits but in their simplest form they are both accessible
and affordable to most users. Why not investigate further to see if your business
could realize the benefits of Virtual Private Networking.
Below are some useful links and further reading to help you with search engine