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VPN FAQ

  knowledgebase  :: network status

Q: What is a VPN?
A: A virtual private network extends your office network over the internet, in a secure ("private") fashion.

Q: What is a VPN for?
A: A VPN lets remote users login to the office network. It allows them to use the network as if they were in the office.

Q: How does a VPN work?
A: Similar to the web, VPN software is used to connect to a server; the server's address is entered into VPN client software, just as a web address is entered into a web browser. Once the connection is made, a "tunnel" is created, through which data can be sent. All data sent through the tunnel is then sent onto the office network by the VPN server. The VPN server also collects any data addressed to the remote system and sends it through the tunnel to the client. This has the effect of joining the remote machine to the local network.

Q: What can I do with a VPN?
A: Once a tunnel is created, any kind of data can be sent through it. Usually, "remote desktop" software is then used to give the user access to their desktop. This then permits the user to open documents, send and receive email, and so on.

Q: What do I need to build a VPN?
A: You need VPN server software and VPN client software. You'll also need a computer to run the VPN server software on, and you'll need client computers at remote locations.

Q: Can I run other services on my VPN server?
A: Yes. Our servers are fully functional, and can easily be modified to run other services such as file and print sharing, or database, email and web servers (these will cost extra to install, however).

Q: Can I run my VPN server on some old hardware I have already?
A: Yes. The machine need not be particularly new or powerful, unless it has other roles as well.

Q: How fast is a VPN?
A: That depends upon what it is used for. Our lightweight, low-bandwidth client software keeps the impact on bandwidth and memory to a minimum.

Q: What about security?
A: VPNs encrypt the data flowing over the connection. Users must login to their machines as usual. In addition they must login to the VPN server. Our VPNs use a state-of-the-art security protocol called SSH2.

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