January 15, 2012

1.1.7 VPN Concentrators

A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure and private point-to-point connection over a public network.  It provides an encrypted tunnel between the client and the remote network. A private network provides security over an otherwise unsecure environment.

VPNs connect two LANs together across the Internet or other public networks. VPNs are also used to connect two remote routers to form a secure WAN. A VPN is implemented either as special hardware or software running on a server.

A VPN typically use a tunneling protocol such as Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), IPSec, or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP).

To guarantee security, both ends of the VPN connection must be running the same type of VPN with equivalent protocols (e.g. L2TP) and encryption method (IPSec).

A VPN concentrator is a hardware device used to create remote access VPNs. The concentrator creates encrypted tunnel sessions between hosts, and many use two-factor authentication for additional security.

VPN concentrators incorporate the encryption and authentication techniques to create a remote-access or site-to-site VPN connection. Cisco VPN concentrators, for example, include components, called Scalable Encryption Processing (SEP) modules, that enable users to easily increase capacity and throughput.

References:
http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/answer/How-does-the-VPN-concentrator-work
CompTIA Security+ Study Guide: Exam SY0-301, Fifth Edition by Emmett Dulaney
Mike Meyers' CompTIA Security+ Certification Passport, Second Edition by T. J. Samuelle

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