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A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network and the resources contained in the network across public networks like the internet. It enables a host computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks by emulating the properties of the private network such as shares, server access, and printers by establishing and maintaining the security and management policies of the private network. This is done by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of either a dedicated connection or through encryption, or a combination of both.
The VPN connection across the Internet logically operates as a wide area network (WAN) link between the sites. The secure connection across the internetwork appears to the user as a private network communication—despite the fact that this communication occurs over a public internetwork—hence the name virtual private network.
VPNs can be either remote-access (connecting an individual computer to a network) or site-to-site (connecting two networks together). In a corporate setting, remote-access VPNs allow employees to access their company's intranet from home or while traveling outside the office, and site-to-site VPNs allow employees in geographically separated offices to share one cohesive virtual network. A VPN can also be used to interconnect two similar networks over a dissimilar middle network; for example, two IPv6 networks over an IPv4 network.
VPN systems can be classified by:
VPNs typically require remote access to be authenticated and make use of encryption techniques to prevent disclosure of private information.
VPNs provide security through tunneling protocols and security procedures such as encryption. Their security model provides:
Secure VPN protocols include the following:
Tunnel endpoints must authenticate before secure VPN tunnels can be established.
User-created remote access VPNs may use passwords, biometrics, two-factor authentication or other cryptographic methods.
Network-to-network tunnels often use passwords or digital certificates, as they permanently store the key to allow the tunnel to establish automatically and without intervention from the user.
The following steps illustrate the principles of a VPN client-server interaction in simple terms.
Assume a remote host with public IP address 188.8.131.52 wishes to connect to a server found inside a company network. The server has internal address 192.168.1.10 and is not reachable publicly. Before the client can reach this server, it needs to go through a VPN server / firewall device that has public IP address 184.108.40.206 and an internal address of 192.168.1.1. All data between the client and the server will need to be kept confidential, hence a secure VPN is used.
Overall, it is as if the remote computer and company server are on the same 192.168.1.0/24 network.
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WiMAX and VPN
WiMax VPN Service is a broadband connection providing a VPN network delivered wirelessly from the service provider to a location. WiMax VPN access is used by businesses to provide reliable, dedicated service for VPN as well as other applications including Internet, email, file sharing, web hosting, data backup, video, or voice access. WiMax VPN connections are typically used in locations where there isn’t dedicated Internet access available. All WiMax VPN services come with a Service Level Agreement with guarantees on speed, performance, uptime, and repair. A WiMax VPN connection can also be configured to carry Internet, video, or other data services. WiMax VPN service is also known as WiMax Broadband, WiMax Internet, WiMax VOIP, Fixed Wireless Data, Fixed Wireless Broadband, or Fixed Wireless Internet.
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