VPN - The Virtual Private Network

A VPN is an umbrella term that refers to all the technologies enabling secure communications over the public Internet. VPN uses "tunnels" between two gateways to protect private data as it travels over the Internet. Tunneling is the process of encapsulating private IP packets into a public IPSec packet. Once the authentication and authorization between the VPN gateways is established, the tunnel is created and the users can send and receive data across the Internet.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allow organizations to securely extend their LANs over the Internet by encrypting the data traffic. VPNs create the ideal infrastructure for providing a secure method for the exchange of data and network resources with employees, partners, suppliers and business associates.

A VPN protects the integrity and confidentiality of information as it travels over the Internet using data encryption. However, a VPN lacks user authentication to verify the identity of the user at the other end of the connection. Establishing the identity of a VPN user prior to granting access to valuable, confidential resources protects the integrity of a VPN.

VPNs can be used to support the following types of connections:

Client to LAN. Used by mobile workers using dial-up Internet connections. A single VPN tunnel is used for each VPN client.

LAN-to-LAN. VPNs link two LANs together using a single tunnel that handles all the secure data traffic between two locations.

Intranets. VPNs allow remote offices and users to securely access internal TCP/IP applications running on the corporate Intranet.

Extranets. VPNs enable secure access to the corporate Extranet for vendors, partners, and customers.

An increasing number of businesses are using Virtual Private Networking (VPN) to eliminate the inefficiency of dial-up remote access or the high cost of private networks. Using VPN between SonicWALL Internet security appliances and other firewalls ("LAN to LAN VPN"), these companies maintain the integrity of the data they send between sites while using the Internet as an inexpensive alternative to leased private lines.

VPN has been particularly useful for businesses with mobile sales forces, telecommuters and business partners needing access to the main office network (LAN). Telecommuters with SonicWALL connect in one of two ways: via the VPN Upgrade on SonicWALLs or by using the SonicWALL VPN Client to connect to LANs behind VPN-enabled SonicWALLs or other IPSec compliant firewalls.


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Modified 10/29/2001