A virtual private network (VPN) peer is another name for a VPN concentrator. A VPN concentrator is a device or software application that allows multiple devices to communicate over a VPN link.
Peering with a VPN concentrator is the process of establishing a direct connection between two or more devices or networks. In other words, when you set up a peering session with a VPN concentrator, you’re connecting two separate but affiliated VPN networks together.
You’ll typically use a VPN concentrator to connect to a remote VPN server to log in and access your private network resources, like a database or corporate intranet. Once you’re securely connected to your remote VPN server, you can use its resources to perform work or access business data. You can then disconnect from the server and continue working or accessing data with the original device or network you connected to.
How Does a VPN Peers Work?
To understand what a VPN peering session is and how it works, you need to know a little bit about how VPNs operate. When you establish a VPN connection, you’re creating a secure tunnel—a virtual private connection—between your computer and the VPN server. This virtual private network tunnel is established by securely exchanging cryptographic keys via a Diffie Hellman-like protocol (think: secret handshakes).
When you start a VPN connection on one device or network, the device or network you’re connected to will act as a middleman and negotiate the cryptographic key with the VPN server. Once this exchange is complete and the keys are verified, both parties can start communicating securely through the established VPN connection. This process is known as key exchange and is where the term ‘peering’ comes from. In the case of a VPN peer, two separate but connected networks are exchanging keys in an effort to establish a secure connection.
What Kind of Networks Can I Peer With?
As mentioned above, a VPN concentrator is a device or software application that allows multiple devices to communicate over a VPN link. A VPN concentrator is a valuable tool for businesses and individuals seeking to communicate securely and privately over a network. However, a VPN concentrator is not quite as flexible as other, more specialized and dedicated devices. For example, if you need a VPN concentrator to specifically support IP telephony (think: Skype), you may need to consider an alternative.
Why Are VPNs Popular?
Even if you don’t need to communicate securely over a network, you may still want to consider a VPN for other reasons. If you’re seeking a safe and easy way to anonymously access your favorite websites, you may want to try out a VPN. If you frequently download large files from sensitive sites like Google Drive or Dropbox, you may want to consider a VPN. And if you regularly log in to corporate VPNs to access resources you need for work, you may want to look into a VPN too.
In each case, a VPN can help you avoid dangerous websites that may be monitored by the government or hackers. When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted between your device and the VPN server, preventing third parties—including the service itself—from understanding your traffic. This level of security may be exactly what you’re looking for if you want to feel confident that your personal information won’t be compromised.
Is A VPN Needed To Use Public Wi-Fi?
Since Wi-Fi is such a popular and accessible option for connecting to the internet, it’s important to understand what security implications this may have. Just because you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi network doesn’t mean your personal information or network traffic is safe. In fact, quite the opposite may be true. Since anyone with wireless access can potentially eavesdrop on your network traffic, you should always use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi.
There are numerous risks associated with using public Wi-Fi, but here are a few of the more common ones:
- Third parties (usually government officials or hackers) may monitor your network traffic
- Your ISP (internet service provider) may be compelled to disclose your network activity to the government
- Your activity on public Wi-Fi could be used to identify you and/or your device
- Your device could become part of a man-in-the-middle attack
- Your device could get infected with malware; this could lead to your personal information being compromised
To prevent any harm from coming to you from using public Wi-Fi, always use a VPN.
How Do I Set Up A VPN Peering Session?
To set up a VPN connection and begin peering with a VPN concentrator, you’ll need a few things, including:
- Two separate networks or devices
- One with a public Internet connection
- One with a private network connection
- And, of course, you’ll need a VPN concentrator. When you have all of these devices connected to a network, you’ll need to ensure that they’re all securely connected to each other. This is usually done through a VPN server. When you’re connecting two separate networks or devices, you’ll need a VPN concentrator or gateway.
What Is The Difference Between A VPN Server And VPN Gateway?
One of the most common questions surrounding VPNs has to do with the difference between a VPN server and a VPN gateway. A VPN server is a single device or software application that performs all the cryptographic heavy lifting for the VPN. A VPN server can be thought of as the brains of the VPN. It has a direct connection to one or more other devices or networks (usually via a point-to-point link) and stores the cryptographic keys needed for secure communication.
A VPN gateway is often considered to be a combination of a VPN server and a physical hardware device. A VPN gateway is an equipment component that allows for secure communications by acting as an intermediary between two or more devices. An additional benefit of using a VPN gateway instead of a standalone VPN server is that you can secure communications between three or more devices without having a direct connection between them. Think of a VPN gateway as the muscle of the VPN.
VPN keys are usually long and complex strings of characters that are exchanged between two or more devices during key negotiation. If you need a refresher on how to generate and manage your own VPN keys, check out this previous blog post from Routerbuddy. Since a VPN gateway is a combination of a VPN server and physical hardware, it can save you the hassle of generating and managing your own keys. This makes it much easier to connect two or more devices (especially mobile devices) when using a VPN gateway. Additionally, a VPN gateway can be a bit more discreet in terms of its overall design since it does not have the same kind of interface as the VPN server. This makes it easier for some to accidentally stumble upon your activity when they’re not supposed to.
Security Measures To Take When Using A VPN
When you use a VPN, you need to be careful about a few things. First, make sure that your VPN server is equipped with all the required infrastructure needed for high-speed, secure communications. Next, make sure that you’re using a reputable VPN service. Third, make sure that all the devices you use to access the VPN are identified and authenticated. And finally, make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to prevent your identity from being compromised when using the VPN.