Virtual private network

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A virtual private network (VPN) is a computer network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure such as the Internet to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network. It aims to avoid an expensive system of owned or leased lines that can be used by only one organization.

It encapsulates data transfers between two or more networked devices which are not on the same private network so as to keep the transferred data private from other devices on one or more intervening local or wide area networks. There are many different classifications, implementations, and uses for VPNs.

Contents

History

Until the end of the 1990s networked computers were connected through expensive leased lines and/or dial-up phone lines.

Virtual Private Networks reduce network costs because they avoid a need for many leased lines that individually connect to the Internet. Users can exchange private data securely, making the expensive leased lines unnecessary.[1]

VPN technologies have myriad protocols, terminologies and marketing influences that define them. For example, VPN technologies can differ in:

  • The protocols they use to tunnel the traffic
  • The tunnel's termination point, i.e., customer edge or network provider edge
  • Whether they offer site-to-site or remote access connectivity
  • The levels of security provided
  • The OSI layer they present to the connecting network, such as Layer 2 circuits or Layer 3 network connectivity

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