Please can anyone describe for me what is a Virtual Private Network and where and in which way it is useful.

Please don`t mention the definition used in Webopedia. I studied it but didn`t got the exact point. Please describe it in detial.

thanks in advance.
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A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a way to allow public users secure access to a network.  It generally uses PPTP, L2TP or IPSEC to make the connection secure.  Windows 2000 and XP computers have the ability to create a VPN connection on the client side without any third-party software.

In short a VPN gives traveling users access to their home networks without compromising the security of the home network, allowing them access to the necessary network resources like databases, email and financial info/apps.  

Hope this helps.


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Agree with everything lyle-granger said, and wanted to add something:

VPN creates a secure tunnel between you (the traveler) and the computer you are accessing. In order to establish a VPN to a specific server, this server has to be configured to accept VPN calls. Windows 2000 Server and Win Server 2003 have VPN built-in. If you don't want to use Microsoft VPN, use can use a third party software. I, for example, have a SonicWall hardware firewall that can be configured to accept VPN calls, but I choose to use Microsoft's...It's a matter of preference. Also, if i'm not mistaken, you can not run applications using VPN. You can only gain access to resources like files, databases, etc. If you want full access to the computer, you need to use Terminal Services or Citrix or any other remote desktop application. Hope this clears it for you.
I'm going to try a simpler answer.  A VPN is a way of ignoring everything else in the middle.  Once the VPN is connected, the two ends off the VPN look like they are locally connected.  Try this diagram:

(LAN A in your house)<--->router with VPN<---->ISP<--->Internet<--->ISP<--->router with VPN<---(LAN B in your office)

     after the VPN is connected between the two routers, it logically looks like this:

(LAN A in your house)<--->router<--->(LAN B in your office)

hope this helps
Starr DuskkASP.NET VB.NET DeveloperCommented:
A VPN can be used for remote backups. For instance, our web server is in another city. I can use a VPN to make it appear that my webserver is on my network on a different drive, such as L drive. Then I can use a software application, such as Ghost, to do a complete backup of the entire web server remotely.

I purchased Zywall 2 and their remote software application for this purpose, and as yet, and with hours over the phone, it is not working. But the idea is that this is one of the purposes you can use a VPN for, even though it has been a big waste of money for us.

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