You’ve heard of VPN concentrators and you don’t seem to know much about their functionalities and how they work?
This comprehensive article will teach you everything you need to know about what VPN concentrator is, ranging from their meaning, features, importance, usage, among others. So read through…..!
What is a VPN concentrator?
A VPN concentrator is a networking device specially designed to give people access to a network remotely (from anywhere in the world) through multiple VPN tunnels.
How do VPN concentrators Work?
A VPN concentrator a type of advanced router that is specially designed to create and manage VPN network infrastructures. It is created to facilitate communication between different VPN nodes.
Assuming you have a company and you employ workforce from different nations of the globe online. Let’s now say you want these employees to access their work documents or programs without having to be physically present at the workplace. It is at this juncture you need a VPN concentrator.
A VPN concentrator gives room for creating a very secure network that various employees of your organization can easily access from any part of the world to access their work files and carry out their individual tasks & activities.
Unlike an average VPN router that has a limited number of people that can access the network simultaneously, VPN concentrator allows hundreds or even thousands of users to access the VPN remotely at the same time, and without any hassle.
VPN concentrators are configured based on many factors, ranging from the total number of remote users, the kind of files, the security requirements of the enterprise that wants to implement it, etc.
VPN concentrators offer administrative capabilities such as data encryption and decryption, end-to-end data delivery, VPN tunnels establishment, users authentication, among others.
However, it must be noted that remote fill access is not a new innovation; businesses have been using it since many years ago. What they do then is to combine several dial-up modems to increase bandwidth and users connected using the Remote Access Service (RAS) on Windows NT4.0.
What are the features of VPN concentrators?
Part of the key functionalities of a VPN concentrator include:
– Establishing and configuring of networking tunnels for multiple remote users
– End-user authentication
– Assigning IP addresses to various users
– Encryption and decryption of data
– Security key management
– Data transfer management
– Managing inbound and outbound network traffic at the endpoints, but to mention a few.
Why should businesses invest in VPN concentrator?
The importance of VPN concentrators in the business environment cannot be over emphasized. Here are some of the reasons why companies or corporates should invest in VPN concentrators:
1. Secure private network
All business data/documents are not the same; there are some data/documents that are ultra-sensitive and requires adequate security. In a bid to prevent these data from leaking to unauthorized personnel, some firms decide to store them on technologies that provide access to private networks remotely such as Remote desktop.
The main issue with remote desktop is that it is far easier for hackers to crack, because it uses the same IP address every time a client logs into their private network.
Once hackers are able to figure out the IP address, all they need do is to crack the password, and they will have full access to the private network.
But the story is different with a VPN concentrator. VPN concentrators use a dynamic IP that makes it hard for threats to break into their private networks because the IP address keeps morphing with each login.
Also, most of the available VPN concentrators usually include advanced firewall functionality which can offer the increased security protection required for a business to run safely.
2. Unlimited network access
For companies who are already using VPN network and a VPN router, it would get to a certain point where it would not be able to accommodate all the employees simultaneously due to their increasing number, and this may result to low productivity in the company. The best way to prevent this is to set up a VPN concentrator as it allows hundreds or even thousands of employees to connect to the network at the same time, and without any issues.
3. Unlimited server access
VPN routers provide employees with limited access to the company’s servers, while VPN concentrators give all employees full access to the company’s servers from anywhere in the globe.
Which VPN concentrator encryption to choose: IPSec or SSL?
There are two major security protocols that VPN concentrators uses in encrypting files:
Internet protocol security (IPsec)
Secure socket layer (SSL)
Internet protocol security (IPsec) – Files encrypted with this security protocol require a client software to gain access to the private network. Also, IPsec is very difficult to configure as it requires high technical skills and lengthy time.
The only edge IPsec have over its counterpart (SSL) is that it is more secure, thus it is more widely used. IPsec is ideal for fixed remote locations i.e. you can only access the private network from the fixed areas you configured it. For instance, if the only place you configure the IPsec is your library, you can only access the private network at the library. If you try accessing it elsewhere, you will be denied the access.
Secure socket layer (SSL) – it is more versatile than its counterpart (IPsec). It requires no software configuration and is not restricted to fixed remote locations.
Meaning that users can easily access the private network from any location as long as they’re connected to the internet. The major drawback of SSL Encryption is that they are less secure, compared to IPsec.
However, before choosing an encryption protocol on your VPN network, make sure you understand what your business is about and set up the encryption protocol that best suits its practices and operations.
That being said, we recommend SSL encryption as it guarantees you of a smooth VPN functionality without any hassle.