VPN (virtual private network) is a technology that allows a secure network between two computers. Examples of this include the internet and internal networks within a business where users are able to log in remotely over the internet. User encryption and secure protocols are used so data transmissions are not interpreted and can travel safely over a network or between networks.
Below is a glossary of some important terms related to VPN.
Authentication
Authentication is the process that determines whether attempted access to a network should be given or not. Once it is established whether or not a user should be allowed access, it will either be authorised or denied.
Certificate Authority (CA)
This is the authority that issues and manages the security credential within a network. It is used to set up the security using rules as to how, and by whom, access can be authorised, and how data packets can travel. This involves encryption and decryption.
Data Packets
A data packet is a group of data that travels between two networks or one part of a network and another. When something is sent from one network to another it is called a data packet.
DNS
DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is the protocol for mapping host names, domain names and aliases to IP addresses.
DSL
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and is the method of bringing high-bandwidth information over a phone line.
Encryption
Data is scrambled so that it cannot be interpreted when travelling across networks. This is called encryption and is vital for data being able to travel securely. It means that the data packets are ineligible to humans. The opposite of encryption is decryption, which is the method of data being de-scrambled back into its original form.
FTP
Standing for File Transfer Protocol, this is the name given to the way that files exchange between computers. It is the process of uploading files so they can be viewed over a network, whether the internet or another type of network.
Gateway
As in the real world, a gateway means an entrance to somewhere, in this case a network from another network. An example of a gateway in the virtual world is where date travels from the internet to another type of network.
IP
This stands for Internet Protocol. It is the protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another.
MPLS
MPLS stands for Multiprotocol Label Switching and is the standard for speeding up the flow of traffic on a network. MPLS gives each data packet a label which means it can be quickly identified at each stage of data transfer.
Protocol
This is the name given to a set of rules for communicating data across networks. Rules that are set for a VPN are called protocol. In some ways the term protocol is another word for rules, where an action will be set in motion upon a set of conditions.
Tunnel
In the real world a tunnel is a passageway, and in the virtual world it is similar but instead of somewhere for cars or people to travel it is where data travels. With VPN, a tunnel is a passageway through a network where data packets travel. It is secure meaning traffic can move safely where is might not be possible without the tunnel.
VPN Client
A VPN Client is the name given to VPN software. It is simply the software a user uses to access the virtual private network.