Which Functions Are Associated With a VPN Concentrator?

A VPN concentrator is a special type of VPN provider that can combine multiple VPN connections (often referred to as “VPN tunnels”) into a single IP address. Some concentrators can also provide the capability to create secure sessions across different protocols (for example, SSTP + L2TP on the same device). A concentrator with these additional features can provide a great deal of value to a corporate network, especially when deployed in a remote location such as a coffee shop or airport terminal.

In this article, we will discuss the various functions that can be provided by a VPN concentrator.

VPN Tunnels

A VPN connection is simply VPN software (such as OpenVPN for example) running on a device with a VPN client connected to a VPN server. A VPN connection is therefore entirely dependent on the performance of the network resources (specifically, the VPN server) that are being used.

A VPN concentrator is a specialized router that can perform the function of a VPN server but with the added security of being physically close to the client. This makes a concentrator a better choice for secure remote connections than a simple VPN server, as a VPN concentrator (if implemented correctly) will generally offer faster speeds and fewer packet drops than a VPN server.

Multiple VPN Connections

A VPN concentrator is designed to allow for multiple VPN connections to be established and configured. This can be beneficial in several ways. First, it means that more VPN servers can be accessed remotely (throughout the world, in fact), which can increase the available network options. Second, it means that VPN clients can remain connected even when mobility is required (think of a situation where a user is traveling and has no Wi-Fi connection available, but would like to continue using his VPN). Third, it means that more than one protocol can be supported by a VPN client (for example, IPSec and L2TP on the same device).

To achieve these benefits, a VPN concentrator must be configured such that multiple VPN connections can be routed through it (either simultaneously or in succession). This can be a challenge, especially when many VPN connections are configured at once. Fortunately, dedicated multiple-connection VPN servers (such as the OpenVPN Server Appliance) make this feature much easier to achieve.

Increased Security

A VPN concentrator provides a level of increased security by being located near the client, which makes it difficult for eavesdroppers to engage in any form of data inspection. This is especially beneficial in situations where a VPN connection is being used for sensitive communications (financial transactions, etc.). In cases where a VPN server uses SSL/TLS encryption to secure the connection, the level of security provided by a VPN concentrator can be enhanced significantly by being physically located near the client.

The main drawback to using a VPN concentrator is the fact that it is a bit more expensive than a standard VPN server. However, if VPN connectivity is required where a physical site is not available, a VPN concentrator is usually the best option available.

Connection Failures

A VPN concentrator can store a limited number of failed VPN connection attempts before resuming normal operation. This can be helpful in cases where a VPN connection keeps randomly disconnecting for no apparent reason (usually due to weak signal strength or network errors). The failure of a VPN connection should not be considered a total loss, as it is often possible to reestablish a connection with the VPN server, provided that no sensitive information is being transmitted during this time. This means that a VPN concentrator can often be used as a last resort, when other options have been exhausted.

Sharing of VPN Profiles

With a VPN concentrator, it is possible to share VPN profiles across different devices. This is a great feature for individuals who travel frequently and want to keep their VPN connections active even when not at their home or office. To achieve this, each device (including smartphones) that is connected to the VPN concentrator must have its own VPN profile configured, and this profile must be accessible by the other devices.

Whether you use a VPN concentrator or a standard VPN server, you should always make sure that your VPN connection is secure. This can be easily achieved by ensuring that your VPN provider’s network is not directly accessible from the internet and that your VPN provider’s login credentials are secured (generally, using a strong password). To check that your VPN connection is actually secure, you can use a free service such as https://www.privacytools.io/ that checks to see if your connection is already open (or if it can be opened in a secure way).

As you can see, the functionality associated with a VPN concentrator goes beyond what is typically available with a standalone VPN server. This makes a VPN concentrator a more sophisticated device, which is usually great, but it also means that it is a bit more complicated to set up and manage. Nevertheless, VPN concentrators are still relatively inexpensive compared to dedicated routers, and they provide a great deal of value to a network that is located in a remote area, especially when VPN tunnels are required for sensitive communications.

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