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Understanding VPN – The Advantages of VPN

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/12/2010

Serving as VPN for Dummies, this article tries to explain VPN in simple words. It also lists the benefit of a VPN under Hallmarks of the Best VPN Software. Other than explaining benefits of a VPN to travellers, the article also covers benefits of VPN to others!

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    VPN for Dummies – Overview and Benefit of a VPN at a Glance

    Before proceeding to the notable benefits of a VPN, let's look at VPN for dummies. Bear in mind that it is just a phrase. You're actually smart to be reading this.

    Though many people say Virtual Private Networks are a form of Wide Area Network (WAN), I would treat a WAN as simply a wireless or wired extension to a corporate LAN or any intranet. An intranet is a closed network that may employ the Internet as base. However, not everyone can access the servers in the network. People need an ID and password to access these private networks. Bright Hub has a nice article explaining intranets by Ryan Tetzlaff.

    A VPN is a method to connect to these intranets or corporate LANs from a different place without any need of physical extensions (such as leased lines, wiring or costly wireless equipment). It employs the Internet to connect to their office LANs or Intranets securely. In short, a VPN allows you to connect to your office network (LAN or an Intranet) from the comfort of your home, customer locale, or on the road. The best thing is that all you need is a password and nothing else. Once connected, you can also use your office LAN's resources such as printers and faxes. As it uses the Internet for connecting, your organization saves on extending their networks to further areas without spending much, which is the primary benefit of a VPN.

    The VPN connection is always visible in the system tray. If it is not there, navigate to My Connections under My Network Places. Once you are at it, click on its icon, enter password and you are ready to exploit any benefit of a VPN. If you need technical information on VPN, the Bright Hub article by Forlanda offers the details.

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    Hallmarks of the Best VPN Software - Benefits of a VPN for Travellers and Others

    Among the hallmarks of the best VPN software are the cost saving benefits of VPN for travellers, telecommuters, and the office for which they work. Based on the connection types (dedicated line or dial-up) and people using it, I have categorized the cost-saving benefit of a VPN into three parts:

    1. To connect to the main network using VPN, you need a connection to the Internet. If VPNs did not support Internet, you would have used a leased line to connect. With the Internet on your side, you can always use a DSL broadband to connect. This would be a stationary remote connection –most suitable for telecommuters.
    2. This one describes one of the many benefits of a VPN for travellers. Normally, you would connect to the corporate network by using a wireless dialup connection when you are travelling. VPNs eliminate the need for remote dialups. All you need to call is the nearest access point of your ISP, which is often a local call. Thus, you save much on costs of connecting using for long distance telephone calls.
    3. To avail the benefit of a VPN for saving costs on connecting, the organization may outsource the Dial-up connections to a third party. As these service providers have several clients, they can offer the Dial-up services at much lower costs.

    Another most mentioned benefit of a VPN is its scalability. For organizations, it is good in the beginning to use a dedicated wiring system to create a LAN. It may also be preferable for the company to join two of its corporate networks into a intranet using a leased line when the distance is not very great. However, when the number of branches increase, it is always better to use VPNs against a leased line. A VPN, as said in the VPN for dummies section, allows anyone (who is authorized) to connect to the corporate network from any place– saving costs for both the organization and the official who is using the VPN.

    To sum up, the hallmarks of the best VPN software are: a) high savings for benefits of a VPN for travellers on connection expenses; and b) low cost WANs for organizations.