March 10, 2015
VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is a technology that is based on nothing more than using a public network like the Internet to create a private and secure network. Despite this, some people still look at VPNs as something bad, probably due to its relation to circumventing the rules and hiding identities.
Using the Internet to connect private network hosts (like each of our computers) is a great solution in terms of cost, but not in terms of privacy – because the Internet is a public network, traffic data can be read by (almost) any device. This is where VPN becomes more important, especially if there is the need to access sensitive information from remote locations, with some level of risk of that information being compromised.
VPN is widely used by large companies and corporations (like Universities), especially where its employees use mobile devices to securely access the company’s internal network. Once a user is authenticated through VPN, the equipment opens a “tunnel” assigning that equipment a valid IP from the internal network and closing other internet connections.
In order to better understand this whole concept, let us take a look on an actual example: a company having its headquarters in New York and branches on Chicago and Los Angeles. Employees physically located on the headquarters or on one of the branches can access the company’s network if they are linked to it, but will not be able to do this if they are not linked to the network of HQ or any of the branches.
This is where VPN does its magic: when the employee cannot directly connect to that network, he just needs to use VPN to connect to the company’s network and, with that, his device gets to be part of that network, even though it is not actually there. This way, the employee can access the company’s internal systems and access servers or equipments as needed.
MPLS VPN is yet another way of dealing with VPNs. It consists on a family of methods that uses the power of Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), a mechanism in high-performance telecommunications networks that directs data from one network node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, making an IP network much safer, trustworthy, and easy to configure and manage.
This technology allows the creation of VPNs over a shared IP network with converging services, in a safe and scalable way. MPLS VPN uses the concepts of Quality of Service (QoS) and Class of Service (CoS) to provide superior services. QoS is a set of techniques to manage the service quality for data communication networks (prioritizing, latency, jitter and packet loss), while CoS is a concept to create service classes in order to attend different kinds of applications and/or traffic. Its goal is to assure bandwidth and priority to critic and important applications.
All this ends up bringing MPLS VPN some advantages over the regular VPN, like better quality of service, total security due to its exclusive virtual environment, better performance assured for the entire network, better cost-benefit relation, and others.
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