VPNs may have found new meaning in recent years, but the tech is almost as old as the internet. The advent of VPN gave rise to better corporate structuring. And it led to enhanced remote workplace displacement. However, the permeation into the consumer market has also spelled new wonders about this tech. Although we are familiar with the concept and the numerous intricacies, a large crowd remains untouched and unaware of VPNs. Thus, today’s article will primarily focus on the types of VPNs; that we can find in our surroundings. And yes; Consumer VPNs may be popular today. But it was the corporate implementation of the tech that has paved the way forward. So, we will be looking at the VPN both as a network and as a service. Further, we would also compare the numerous iteration of the service.
Types of VPNs:
There are different criteria to consider while distinguishing VPNs. Although we can broadly classify VPNs into three or maybe four types; The numerous iterations can overlap. Thus, presenting a consorted image of the tech. Hence, to clarify and categorize VPNs into different cliques, we have adopted the approach of charging it as both; A network and a service. And to better present the idea, we have also tried to present them from the end-user point of view and the implementation end. Thus, we can conclude that VPNs are both a network and a service, depending on who uses them and how they do it.
VPN as a network
This segment evaluates VPN as a network. It will consider the architecture of the tech and how it comes across. Also, VPN as a network can get further classified into two distinct categories. However, we should ensure that readers do not confuse it with a service. Here, VPNs are virtual and private networks. They run over a public communication channel and not a product. Hence, based on operations, there are two different VPNs.
Remote access VPN is the modern iteration of the virtual network, where the network is temporary and not permanent. It majorly uses end-user clients to initiate and substantiate the connection between VPN users and the servers. It is mobile and can effortlessly connect remote workers to a central authority. Given how cheap it is to implement a remote access VPN; Many corporates have adopted it.
The network uses VPN clients and VPN routers. When the client initiates a connection; Then the router sends the data to a NAS for authentication. Also, remote access VPNs can only connect mobile users and not interconnect networks. Hence, it is a person-to-network connection.
Site to site
Site-to-site VPNs are the traditional implementation of the VPN service. However, it is an old implementation and full of potential flaws. A site-to-site VPN is more permanent. Hence, it needs more investment. Corporates use site-to-site VPN to connect multiple remote workplaces to a central network. However, these workplaces are permanent. Thus, a corporate has to prepare physical data centers and establish communication lines. Although site-to-site VPNs are useful in a limited capacity. It is the typical network-to-network connection. There are two types of site-to-site VPNs. However, both require external hardware to function. Due to the exuberant cost of initiating and maintaining a site-to-site VPN, many corporates have stopped using them.
Intranet based S2SVPN
Corporates use internet-based site-to-site VPN to connect multiple remote LANs to the central network. It is an internal network where employees can share resources over a private communication channel. Internet-based site-to-site VPN creates a WAN.
Extranet based S2SVPN
Extranet-based site-to-site VPN is also an implementation of S2SVPNs. However, it is different from intranet-based ones. Instead of connecting internal employees, corporate and businesses use an extranet to facilitate inter-organization contact or communication. A third party can use the extranet-based VPN to contact and share resources with another company. However, since the network is separate from the internal network, there is no risk of leaks or theft of potential corporate secrets. An extranet is a blessing for any corporate as it enhances the business relationship
VPN as a service
VPNs are also a service that vendors provide against subscription fees. And these vendors cater to both the consumer and corporate worlds. Thus, to understand a VPN better, we have to gain insight into how a VPN is a service.
Consumer VPNs are on the rise. They cater to the average netizens and appeal to their security and privacy concerns. A consumer VPN can aid the users with hiding their IP addresses on the internet. It also encrypts any data traffic to prevent third-party E from snooping. Hence, consumer VPNs are here to stay. They can also geo-unlock certain services on the web that entertainment fans love. We also know them as individual VPNs. It works on the premise of remote access and allows the user to connect to the network via a VPN client.
They developed the VPN for the sake of corporate use. And these businesses have been using VPNs for the past two decades or so. VPNs can facilitate remote yet secure communication between the numerous branches of a corporate. Thus, the tech has evolved to the need of several businesses. The implementations we see are a direct confirmation of this fact. Many vendors exclusively cater to only the corporate market. And even with the permeation into the individual market, the popularity of corporate VPNs hasn’t experienced any downfall.
Types of VPNs based on features and target audience
A VPN can also factor into the intended audience and work alongside the demand. Based on such factors, we can divide a VPN into four categories. And we have discussed these four possibilities below:
Based on user
A VPN has two critical purposes, either business or personal use. Based on the target audience; A vendor offers either professional and tailor-made services to supplement major enterprises or focuses on the individual user. Thus, we have corporate and consumer VPNs. While corporate VPNs include management and after-sales services on top of an exclusive network, a consumer VPN solely takes charge of the privacy and security criteria of the user.
Based on protocol
VPNs are versatile and can offer multiple protocols. Thus, VPNs differ based on the protocols employed. Typically, a corporate VPN works with a single protocol. But individual ones provide a set of security protocols. Although these VPNs are highly customizable; They can’t fulfill the need of the corporate world, where uniformity saves costs. Also, the choice of protocols depends on the resources a vendor can deploy.
Based on privacy and logging policies
A no-logging policy is the facet of individual VPNs. Any corporate VPN has total control over the traffic due to management and administration rights. But individuals are different. They want to remain hidden to safeguard their privacy. As such, any logging can hamper the objectives of the service. Here’s where no-logging comes into play. A no-logs VPN is your vendor’s effort to ensure user trust. Since any traffic going to and fro on the VPN network is visible to the vendor. It has to ensure that no underhanded practices apply to inculcate trust.
Based on pricing
Lastly, a VPN can either be a free or a paid service. Although we have exhaustedly covered the merits and demerits of both in the article Paid v/s Free VPNs, we have to remind users that most free VPNs aren’t what they appear to be. Yes, a paid VPN can be costly. But it fulfills the user requirements without compromising quality or jeopardizing user interest.