The Definition of a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure method of connecting to a private individual or business’s Local Area Network (LAN). Technically, a VPN protocol surrounds data transfers utilizing protected cryptographic methods between connected, network devices which are not linked through the same private network, keeping data guarded as it passes through the connecting nodes of a computer network.
Utilizing sophisticated encryption technology to protect delicate data, one can connect securely from a remote location using the Internet or a non-secure public network to transport network data confidentially. Using authentication and encryption to deny access to unauthorized users, a VPN can prevent hackers or prying eyes from reading your private network packets.
A Simple Analogy/Explanation of a VPN
HowStuffWorks has an excellent analogy of how a VPN works:
“Imagine that you live on an island in a huge ocean. There are thousands of other islands all around you, some very close and others farther away. The common means of travel between islands is via ferry. Traveling on the ferry means that you have almost no privacy: Other people can see everything you do.
Let’s say that each island represents a private local area network (LAN) and the ocean is the Internet. Traveling by ferry is like connecting to a web server or other device through the Internet. You have no control over the wires and routers that make up the Internet, just like you have no control over the other people on the ferry. This leaves you susceptible to security issues if you’re trying to connect two private networks using a public resource.
Continuing with our analogy, your island decides to build a bridge to another island so that people have an easier, more secure and direct way to travel between the two islands. It is expensive to build and maintain the bridge, even if the islands are close together. However, the need for a reliable, secure path is so great that you do it anyway. Your island would like to connect to yet another island that is much farther away, but decides that the costs are simply too much to bear…
Using our analogy, suppose each inhabitant on your island has a small submarine. Let’s assume that each submarine has these amazing properties:
- It’s fast.
- It’s easy to take with you wherever you go.
- It’s able to completely hide you from any other boats or submarines.
- It’s dependable.
- It costs little to add additional submarines to your fleet once you’ve purchased the first one.”
Benefits of Using a VPN/ VPN Service Provider
A VPN can be used to send any kind of network traffic securely, including VOIP, streaming video, sensitive e-mails, or the sharing of important, confidential business data. They are often used when employees or private individuals work from remote sites, home networks, and branch offices to share private information, data, and network resources.
VPNs can also allow users to bypass regional Internet restrictions like firewalls, audio and video content, as well as web filtering, by “tunneling” the network connection to a different region.
How to Connect to a VPN?
Creating a VPN involves making a secure connection from one computer to another or a computer to a server in a different location. It is simple to create a VPN connection to one location if you can install a certain piece of software in both your computer and the other computer. Proposed Solution has a breakdown for setting this type of simple VPN up with LogMeIn Himachi.
Yet if you need to be able to log in to or from various countries and do not have a VPN set up, the simplest solution is a VPN service provider. ExpressVPN allows you to create a VPN from any location where you can connect to the Internet and be assigned a localized IP address of the location where you are connecting.
ExpressVPN offers more than 100 servers for VPN connections in more than 30 countries such as Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea, and Germany. More options include even many popular countries for utilizing alternate IP addresses with a VPN such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and multiple connections in the USA from coast to coast.
Signing up for a VPN service is a simple way to travel for business or pleasure and continue to have all the Internet content access you would have from home including streaming video from Netflix, Skype VOIP, and keeping tabs with the BBC iPlayer. Who would want to make a month long business trip without access to their favorites on Spotify? For a low price, ExpressVPN can easily make that happen.
FlashRouters integrates a VPN connection into your router covering your entire network. It is a simple solution for securing your entire network under the cover of a VPN. To check out our selection of specialized VPN Routers, check out the FlashRouters VPN Ready Routers page.
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Updated: March 20, 2014