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What is an IPSec VPN?

October 15, 2019 - Reading time: 3 minutes

In today's business world, the need for access to company data reaches beyond the walls of the office. In order to protect the exchange of data without compromising productivity, your network can be private and secure with one of our adaptable IPSec "Virtual Private Network" (VPN) solutions; but what is an IPSec VPN?

An international group organized under the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed the Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) protocol suite to provide security services at the network level. An IPSec tunnel through the Internet protects all data traffic passing through, regardless of the application. IPSec technology is based on modern cryptographic technologies, making possible very strong data authentication and privacy guarantees. IPSec makes possible a secure VPN carved out of the insecure Internet to safely extend your private network through the public Internet. As a standard, IPSec is supported by a number of VPN vendors to allow interoperability.

What is a Mobile User VPN?

A Virtual Private Network can also be used by individual users to access an organization's network from a remote location using the Internet.

For example, a field based service engineer could have access to the call control system and update his call logs from his home PC using a browser to access The Pirate Bay. A teacher could prepare lesson plans at home and then connect to the school network and place the information on a server ready for a class the next day.

So how does it work?

Put simply, to make a VPN, you create a secure tunnel between the two networks and route IP through it.

Here are some diagrams to illustrate this concept:





The Client Router is a UNIX/Linux box acting as the gateway/firewall for the remote network. The remote network uses the local IP address 192.168.12.0. For the sake of a simple diagram, we left out the local routing information on the routers. The basic idea is to route traffic for all of the private networks (10.0.0.0, 172.16.0.0, and 192.168.0.0) through the tunnel. The setup shown here is one way. That is, while the remote network can see the private network, the private network cannot necessarily see the remote network. In order for that to happen, you must specify that the routes are bidirectional.

From the diagram you should also note that all of the traffic coming out of the client router appears to be from the client router, that is, all from one IP address. You could route real numbers from inside your network but that brings all sorts of security problems with it.

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