Experiences with...VPN

Paul's picture

Since a good proportion of our members are PC techie-types (excluding Bergerac's mysterious cousin of course, who rumour has it uses an Apple) I decided to recant my experiences with some of the PC technologies I have wrestled with over the years.


My intent (note the careful choice of words) is to write a number of articles and I have chosen to start with VPN (Virtual Private Networking) which involves establishing a secure connection across a public network (the Internet). Prior to the development of VPN remote users would connect to office networks and corporate email services over RAS (Remote Access Service) which usually involved a dial-up connection and therefore speed limited usefulness. The introduction of VPN and the spread of low-cost broadband therefore represented a huge step in connectivity and productivity, as remote users were released from the limitations of the dial-up modem.


VPN is important to me because of my working lifestyle, which has me working remote from my home base for long periods (usually several years). Those who have operated in this manner will relate to the problem of discovering things are in the wrong location. Unfortunately VPN can't send me my black suit when I've left it at home but in can enable me to confidently leave all my data at home base in the knowledge that I can access it when needed.


I began experimenting with VPN in the mid-nineties, when Microsoft introduced RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service) around the time of Windows NT Service Pack 3 and by the time Service Pack 6a was released I was able to establish reliable VPN connections over consumer broadband between my home base in USA and my remote base in the Netherlands. Since that time I have developed my use of VPN and now rely on it extensively for a great deal of my working activities.


If you would like to leave comments on any part of this article, please do so on the final page VPN questions and answers.