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VPN question

Posted on 2009-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
is using software programs like Logmein, GoToMyPC considered a VPN?   what about citrix and terminal services?  can anyone give me a detailed explaination?  
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Question by:jkimzlg
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MikeKane earned 500 total points
ID: 24052230
Technically, I would say no.      Each of these services runs as a service on a specific port.   To access the service, you hit the IP address on that port to access the software.    

A VPN is more along the lines of an extension of a network segment.    

Consider this:

Your PC at home has an IP from your ISP, say 4.4.4.4.      At the office you have a Server with RDP running and it is mapped through your office router to your Office's ISP IP address, say 5.5.5.5  (the RDP port is accessible at the IP and forwarded into the internal host at 192.168.10.10)   The 4.4.4.4 machine would hit 5.5.5.5 port 3389 and access the RDP service.     4.4.4.4 and 5.5.5.5 are not on the same network segment.  

A VPN works differently in that the Office router/firewall is configured so that a VPN client can connect to it, and establish a tunnel from the VPN client INTO the Office network so it becomes a host on the Office LAN.    4.4.4.4 VPN's into 5.5.5.5.   When the VPN is established, the router will provide the client with an IP for the internal office lan that can communicate directly with 192.168.10.10    

Thats a very simple simple view of VPN... There are lots of different flavors to it.  

Here's some good reading to learn about the technology:
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/vpn.htm
http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac123/ac147/archived_issues/ipj_1-1/what_is_a_vpn.html
http://compnetworking.about.com/od/vpn/a/what_is_a_vpn.htm


Happy reading
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by:jkimzlg
ID: 24052422
thanks mike, in ur example you mentioned a server with RDP service running.  my question is does a server have to be involved.  Can't you just configure a VPN on the router? can you make a VPN connection from a client computer at the office to ur home computer.
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by:MikeKane
ID: 24052566
Absolutely.   A VPN is a network connection.   What you use the connection for doesn't really come into play when you describe the VPN.   The VPN facilitates the RDP connection, but is independent of the hosts at each end.   The VPN is the Data Highway between the office and home, its not the application, its not the host, its just the mechanism for transporting data.
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 24052568
Yes, if your home router has an IP that you know, and you configure a VPN server on it ( if supported )

I hope this helps !
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