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.