The networking age is witnessing an immense influx of technology-based products and appliances for use in business and everyday applications. As the Internet is the medium that is widely used for ecommerce, education, entertainment, and other purposes, corporations and organizations are constantly looking towards strengthening and securing their Wide Area Networks (WANs). A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technological evolution that has, as its main purpose, transmitting secure communications over the public Internet.
A VPN is a network that uses the shared public telecommunication infrastructure to connect nodes and establish secure access between the Internet and an organization’s internal network. VPN connections enable organizations to also have secure connections over the Internet with other organizations, which are situated in geographically diverse locations. A VPN connection over the Internet, functions as a separate WAN link. VPNs can separate the network traffic of the varied user groups across an underlying network and provide strong security features.
VPN, as a private network maintains privacy through employing security procedures and tunneling protocols. Based on the tunneling concept, the tunneling protocol (AKA Encapsulation protocol) is a network technology that includes establishing and maintaining a logical network connection. The most widely used VPN tunneling protocols are, Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), IP Security (IP Sec), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TS), Open VPN, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol version 3 (L2TPv3), VPN Quarantine, and Multi Path Virtual Private Network (MPVPN).
VPNs support two types of tunneling, viz. voluntary (where the VPN connection set up is managed by VPN client) and compulsory (where the VPN connection set up is managed by the network provider). A WAN is utilized as a medium to transmit data in an encrypted format, enabling only authorized users to have access to the data. Data is encrypted at the sending end and decrypted at the receiving end.
VPNs were created to mitigate the need and cost of leased point-to-point circuits. The protocols, by encrypting and decrypting data at the sending and receiving ends, allows for the data to move through a secure “tunnel”, which can be entered only by data that is properly encrypted. Added security feature of Virtual Private Networks is encryption of originating and receiving network addresses.
Enterprises are often in the pursuit of the most advanced technology to keep their WAN connections stable and secure. VPN technology offers secure transmission using cryptographic tunneling protocols in order to provide discretion, sender authentication, and message integrity, and thereby privacy. IPSec technology ensures high levels of security through its process that consists of an initial tunnel setup and key exchange on UDP Port 500, which negotiates a secret key, as well as endpoint security associations including local and remote IP stack configurations. When the key negotiation occurs, the traffic is transitioned to a full VPN session via Encapsulated Secure Payload (AKA ESP, on IP Proto 50). When ESP is established, all the traffic traversing over the WAN links can be passed through this secure packet tunnel. In the business perspective, ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning Systems), voice, video, internal tools, Intranet resources, file server transfers, customer ordering portals, customer servicing portals, etc. can all be used across VPNs since it is secure.
While VPN technology provides the security need to transmit data over public facilities, they are yet vulnerable to connectivity failures. However, many connectivity issues can be resolved by using technology solutions provided by innovators such as FatPipe Networks. FatPipe is the pioneer of router clustering technology and many other core area technology and technological products. Large enterprises that are keen on meeting business continuity goals employ FatPipe’s devices, which offer the highest level of WAN reliability and integrity.
FatPipe offers an enhanced suite of technology solutions, which includes security features. Its patented MPVPN technology provides reliable, redundant and secure WAN data transmissions. MPVPN is the ideal product for agnostic aggregation of publically routed IP connections such as ISDN, xDSL, Cable, T1, T3, Metro-E, OC-x, etc. It is further enhanced with seamless VPN failover through reconstruction of IP headers using FatPipe’s patented MPSEC tunneling technology, which encapsulates IPSec tunnels. It is to be noted that MPVPN can act as a VPN in and of itself. The IPVPN technology is intended for the core network side by agnostically aggregating multiple privately routed network connections such as point-to-point, frame relay, MPLS, etc. back to the core network at headquarters and/or a collocation facility. These custom-made solutions secure WAN connectivity and enable continuous uptime, thereby enabling sound business continuity practices.