Understanding VPN Tunnels – A Guide to Setup VPN Tunnels

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Understanding VPN Tunnels – A VPN or Virtual Private Network is an internet security tool that works by creating an encrypted connection over a less secure Internet connection. The perk of using a secure VPN connection is that it provides the high level of security to all the devices connected to it when the underlying network infrastructure alone fails to do so (see the most secure VPN services). The reason why VPN access is preferable over a private connection can be essentially a matter of cost and feasibility. For the user on the go seems unfeasible to have a private connection or it may cost him a lot. Remote-access VPNs and site-to-site VPNs are the most common types of the VPNs.

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How a Remote-Access VPN Works?

A remote-access VPN works by using a general telecommunication infrastructure. The same as the internet to serve the remote users with secure access to their office network. This becomes a must when the employees are using a public Wifi. Or hotspot and attempt to connect to their corporate network. The VPN client of user’s computer or any device connects. To the VPN gateway on the corporate network. This gateway needs to authenticate its identity. Hence, it generates the network link back to the device. This device then allows it to reach the internet network resources. For instance, a file server, printer, etc.

The VPN protocol that remote-access VPN uses. Is either IPsec or Secure Sockets Layer SSL to ensure the security of the network to its best. However, the fact that SSL VPN emphasizes on giving secure connection to a single application. Instead of the entire internal network. Some VPNs uses Layer 2 to the target network. But this requires a tunnelling protocol. Like PPTP or L2TP running across the base IPsec connection.

How a Site-to-Site VPN Works?

The site-to-site VPN relies on the gateway device. To connect the whole network in a single location. In another small branch connecting to the data hub. The end-node devices of remote connection do not require to connect with the VPN client. It is because the gateway deals with the connection. Mostly, site-to-site VPN that connects over the Internet utilizes IPsec.

Moreover, VPNs can also be defined between specific computers. Typically servers in separate data hubs. When security needs for their exchanges exceed what the enterprise network can deliver. Increasingly, companies also use VPN connections in either remote-access mode. Or site-to-site mode to connect. So as to the resources in a public infrastructure as a service environment. Newer hybrid-access scenarios added the VPN gateway itself in the cloud. With a safe and secure link from the cloud service provider into the internal network. In this article, you will further knowledge about the VPN. The VPN tunnel and how to setup it. (If you are a VPN beginner read our VPN Guide t know all about VPNs).

What is a VPN Tunnel?

VPN Tunnel does the operation of internet data encapsulation. In simple words, it is an encrypted tunnel that links the two locations and through which the internet data transmits from one location to another location and keeping the data highly secure. To make you understand better let us attempt an easy analogy, imagine yourself a refugee, staying in any other country, and your location is kept the secret to keep you safe there. But you need to contact few key people back in your home country via such mean that will not disclose them your current location.

Example

How would you do it? Well, you can do it by sending a postcard first to your trusted friend back in your home with the message on it and the address and tell him to re-send that postcard to those important people whom you want to contact. When those people receive your postcard, they would not be able to know your location as the postcard was sent to them with the location stamp. This way of putting a postcard into an envelope is the same as data encapsulation. When it is done with internet data, it creates a VPN tunnel through which the data travels. This tunnel ensures the end-to-end encryption in order provide the high level of security to the internet connection so that the data travelling will be least likely to intercept (understand all VPN Encryption terms).

Explanation

In fact, the Tunnel is just a concept that aids us better understand the VPN network dynamics. When you start communication or send data through VPN network, the Tunneling protocols implemented and used by the VPN network (like PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, etc.) pack up the data packets into another data packet and encrypts the package that has to be sent through the tunnel. At receiver’s point, the tunnelling device/protocol decrypts the package and then strips the packed data packet to read and access the actual message and disclose the source of the packet and other classified information.

Stratification of Tunneling

The stratification of Tunneling is based on the source that starts off the connection. According to the source, there are two types of Tunneling – Compulsory Tunneling and Voluntary Tunneling. Network Access Server establishes the Compulsory Tunneling without the need for user input. Furthermore, VPN clients can not access the information on the VPN server, because neither they are responsible nor they are in control of connection commencement. The compulsory tunnelling functions as a mediator between the VPN server and clients, and authenticates the client and set it up with the VPN server.

Voluntary Tunneling

The Voluntary Tunneling is set up, controlled and run by the user. Unlike Compulsory Tunneling which is operated from a carrier network, it needs users to create a connection with local ISP first, then running the VPN client application. You may have used so many VPN client software that establishes secured tunnels for a particular VPN server. When VPN client software strives to start off a connection, it aims a particular or user-defined VPN server. Voluntary Tunneling needs nothing more than installing an additional tunnelling protocol on the user’s system so that it can be used as one endpoint of the tunnel.

Why do You need to Setup VPN Tunnel?

The Virtual Private Network guarantees the security of data which is sent and received as well as fast data relocation speed (see the fastest VPN services). This single network infrastructure needs to use one dedicated line to send and receive classified information, but after setting up a Private Network, a public network for inter-organization communication is required. This gives life to the need of Hybrid Network, which is a combination of both Private and Public network. Hybrid Network works by using two dedicated lines for public and private communication.

For example,

If an organization has four sites, it needs to buy a highly secured data transmission line to connect all sites and architect a central data repository to effectively and conveniently manages the channel of communication, while the open and public link is used to access public WAN (internet) for inter-organization data transfer. Since Hybrid Networks need two separated channels for public and private data exchange, many organizations opt-in for Virtual Private Network Tunneling.

You might need to set up a VPN tunnel if you launched a new branch of your office and wanted to link both the branches to transfer the data over the internet. In such case, you will require establishing a VPN tunnel to send your data packets from one office to another office through an encrypted VPN tunnel that ensures the security of your data. You may also need VPN tunnelling if you are concerned about the confidentiality of your data and do not want anyone to access the data of your company since it can affect the performance of your competitors.

How to Setup a VPN Tunnel?

Following are the step by step guide to help you set up a VPN tunnel.

  1. First of all, you need to download Putty and run its executable. Now you are required to fill in the IP and other information to access the SSH.

Now open Putty configuration and select connection>SSH Tunnel. Enter source port and destination.

  1. When you connect, Putty will show up a window that connects to the remote location. However the screen will be a blank, but it opens a tunnel.
  2. After this, you tunnel becomes ready, to begin with. Open your internet browser if you are configuring it to the localhost and set it forward. For example, input http://localhost 1111/. Here 1111 is the port that is forwarded to the web server.

Conclusion – Understanding VPN Tunnels – A Guide to Setup VPN Tunnels

Virtual Private Network has truly reshaped the way of safeguarding the data transmission between multiple remote locations. If you want to see the range of different VPNs. And how to set up a VPN. Have a look at our VPN guide to help yourself. And to know about the best VPNs and their reviews. Know more about the best VPN services.

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Sandy Roberts is technology admirer and a computer specialist who is always curious for new technological advancements in the IT industry. With her extensive experience and apprehension of IT industry and technology, she writes after concrete research and analysis with the intention to aid the reader the content full of factual information. Being so ambitious to facilitate the readers, she intermittently tries her hand on the tech-gadgets and services popping frequently in the industry to reduce any ambiguity in her mind related to the project on she works, that a huge sign of dedication to her work.

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