A VPN concentrator is an essential part of Virtual Private Networking.
Simply put, a VPN creates a tunnel between your connections with any unsecured or unauthorized network, such as the internet.
This tunnel ensures that your data remains within the boundary of the tunnel.
Similarly, it ensures that all your data is encrypted using security protocols before it is released to the internet.
This form of encryption and security has become very common in 2023.
Corporate houses and businesses have all decided to incorporate the power of VPNs into their day-to-day lives.
VPNs are beneficial in regards to protecting your data from third-party organizations and malicious hackers.
Businesses that want to ensure that their sensitive data remains secure must make sure they are always connected to a VPN.
A VPN concentrator is just as crucial as a VPN for business and corporate organizations. We would take a step further and say that they are even more critical than VPNs.
However, our research has discovered that not many people know about them.
Without having a grasp on what a VPN concentrator is, you will not be able to know how to use it or what its advantages are, or why you should have one.
What is a VPN Concentrator?
Think of a VPN concentrator as a router built specifically for one purpose: to create and manage VPN communication infrastructures.
This means it’s a one-stop destination for all your VPN-related queries.
You can control your VPN connection from a single location where the VPN concentrator is located.
What is VPN concentrator’s benefits?
It will help you if you are a medium or large-sized business or corporation.
Unlike a standard router, a VPN concentrator can simultaneously serve more than a thousand users.
This is because VPN concentrators can create a tunnel between every employee and their organization, ensuring that whatever they share with their organization is well-encrypted and secure.
What is a VPN concentrator used for?
As mentioned above, administrators can simply use concentrators to formulate encrypted tunnels between employees and their business organization.
To do that, VPN admins demand that the VPN application be downloaded on every device that will be using services of that VPN.
The VPN concentrator should be downloaded on a separate device than the one that is being used to manage the VPN system.
By installing a it on a different device, administrators can install a VPN application on any device of their choice.
They can then configure those devices with the necessary encryption protocols, and gain ultimate control over all connections from one location.
This means there is no need to spend extra money on purchasing extra consoles and computers.
Now that we have understood what a VPN concentrator is let us discuss a few things about what a VPN concentrator does.
What Does A VPN Concentrator Do?
VPN clients, routers, and concentrators perform essential functions on each of their ends.
They are in charge of authentication, encryption, and decryption once the data starts flowing through their servers.
It is important to remember that encryption of data has two essential facets: the first is called transport mode.
This encrypts only the carrying connection of your data, leaving the original packet headers intact.
The second facet is called tunnel mode, which encrypts your entire data packet and surrounds it with a different IP datagram differing from your original.
A VPN concentrator does precisely this. It creates and manages VPN tunnels. It receives a lot of encrypted data through the tunnel.
It immediately works on decrypting that data and sending it via the tunnel to the respected party.
Before it does this, the VPN concentrator makes sure about two things.
First, it is encapsulated with encryptions for safety. Second, it has obtained a new IP address, so the original IP address cannot be traced or tracked.
These are the critical functions performed by a VPN concentrator. By now, you may have already realized their importance and functions.
How Does A VPN Concentrator Work and Why Should I Use it?
They are very productive, provide high concentration output, and are always very efficient.
In terms of money, using a single VPN concentrator will save you the cost of acquiring different devices and installing different applications on each one of them.
It also saves a lot of time for your employees since they do not have to worry about the nitty-gritty of the VPN service they are using.
VPN concentrators have the ability to allow up to five hundred or more simultaneous connections at once.
This way, you can connect all of your VPN devices to a single VPN concentrator to be monitored and supervised.
They are also expandable using Scalable Encryption Processing (SEP) modules. These allow the users to further increase their efficiency and productivity.
Let us picture a hypothetical scenario where a VPN administrator wants to make a few necessary changes in the VPN’s privacy and security aspects.
Ideally, the VPN administrator must go to each device and physically make the changes for each one.
However, if you happen to have a VPN concentrator, this task becomes more accessible.
The VPN administrator can easily change the VPN settings using a VPN concentrator, and those settings will be applied to every device connected to the VPN service provider.
This increases productivity and makes the job of a VPN administrator less cumbersome and more efficient.
Not just that, VPN concentrators provide VPN administrators with the functionality to change or configure advanced VPN features.
Some of these features include what resources a user can access and how much time they can spend using those resources.
VPN administrators can easily tweak these settings using a VPN concentrator without changing them for every device individually.
If VPN administrators want to change a setting for all devices connected to the VPN, they can do this by simply pressing a few buttons.
This makes their work less tiresome and increases their productivity in their workplace.
It also cuts down significant costs as many corporate organizations are forced to hire multiple VPN administrators for the job since it is so demanding.
Luckily, with a VPN concentrator, you will need only one VPN administrator.
Additionally, a few other benefits of using a VPN concentrator include secure access to the business network from anywhere in the world.
A VPN concentrator ensures that whatever data it receives is encrypted and secured before sending it to the main organization via the tunnel.
Similarly, software applications can be configured to be always-on.
This means that whenever you want to send any data to your organization, your data will be sent through the encrypted tunnel whether you switch on the VPN or not.
Hackers and scammers can hack their way inside if organizations do not make it a point to use encrypted tunnels for directing their data.
A VPN concentrator makes this job easy and gives you something less to worry about.
We may have you convinced that using a VPN concentrator is very important if you are a business organization.
Types of VPN Concentrators
VPN concentrators are based on hardware appliances optimized for a specific amount of VPN connection.
You can also find appliances that include dedicated hardware for encryption and decryption. These appliances can be handy if you establish your VPN concentrator for the first time.
Organizations with fewer budgets or start-ups that do not have a big budget can easily take advantage of an open source project to assemble their own VPN concentrator.
Some examples of these open source projects include OpenVPN, Native Linux implementations, and VyOS.
The VPN concentrator that you decide to procure will largely depend on your use.
However, we highly recommend the Cisco VPN concentrator to all of our users mainly because it is not very expensive and offers all the necessary protocols.
This allows businesses that are not yet well-established to incorporate VPN security into their organization.
Due to their feature-rich capabilities, Cisco VPN concentrators are used worldwide.
For businesses that are smaller in size and in number of employees, who generally do not require the might of a VPN concentrator manufactured by Cisco, we recommend SonicWALL’s elite line of SecureLINX as an excellent option for a VPN concentrator device.
Even though SonicWALL offers fewer features than Cisco’s VPN concentrator, it is cheaper and has enough functionality to suit a small business plan.
Additionally, several companies manufacture and produce VPN concentrators like VPN service providers.
Remember that the cost of a VPN concentrator will always depend on the number of encrypted tunnels it can formulate and the amount of devices it can support.
Some of the most well-known companies producing VPN concentrators include:
- Cisco Meraki: They produce VPN concentrators that are easy to install and use. These are generally suited for well-established organizations.
- Shore Tel: Their VPN concentrators provide excellent IP support and can quickly generate new IP addresses.
- Aruba and HP: They manufacture some of the best VPN concentrators.
When choosing a VPN concentrator, you must be selective of the protocols it has to offer.
Usually, VPN protocols provide various protocols that differ from one concentrator to the other. More expensive VPN concentrators will offer better protocols.
However, to decide which VPN concentrator protocol suits your needs, we have mentioned a few of the best below to decide for yourself.
VPN Concentrator Encryption Protocols
First, you must know that VPNs primarily use two protocols: IPSec and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
IPSec is the preferred protocol to connect networks between branches of business and organizations. IPSec relies on an OS extension to create the VPN tunnel.
SSL is usually incorporated into the web browser. This provides more available across all devices.
That is why it is better than IPSec. However, IPSec is preferred because it is cheaper than SSL. Technically speaking, there is not much difference between the two.
SSL has the kind of functionality that IPSec lacks. That’s the only difference. Organizations with money to spare opt for SSL over IPSec.
VPN concentrators have other interesting security features embedded into them. For example, they have VPN auditing.
This means that VPN concentrators maintain a full record of VPN use such as how many users logged in and the different changes of information.
These audits can be leveraged when the need arises.
VPN concentrators also have a feature called Multi-Site Interconnectivity.
This means that, unlike regular VPN services, VPN concentrators have the ability to support connections with multiple VPN concentrators.
For example, you have the flexibility to connect with one VPN with a VPN concentrator and simultaneously connect with another VPN with a different VPN concentrator.
The VPN concentrator will allow you to establish a secure connection regardless of your prior connection with an additional VPN service.
VPN concentrators have another exciting feature called Multiple Tenancy.
This feature allows you to create separate VPN sessions for different groups of people within the same physical device.
For example, you could use one VPN concentrator to give access to a remote office and create separate VPN connections for every employee.
Doing so allows you to tune each employee’s settings in any way you like.
VPN Concentrators vs. VPN Routers
VPN concentrators are always compared with VPN routers. This turns into a heated debate, and VPN concentrators often come out on top.
It is essential to understand the difference between a VPN concentrator and a VPN router, as both of these objects serve different purposes.
VPN routers vary depending on their features, the kind of remote access they offer, and the applications they are compatible with.
VPN routers are limited in terms of functionality compared to VPN concentrators. However, VPN concentrators are objects that large organizations mainly use.
They are unlike routers that people use on a daily basis in their houses.
However, if you want to use a VPN service, it is better to install a VPN concentrator as it will be easier to set up.
Using a VPN router for VPN service has proven to be more technical and complicated. We found that we had to refer to various articles to set up our VPN router.
Moreover, VPN concentrators provide two added benefits regarding VPN routers.
VPN concentrators offer Network Design Flexibility, allowing you to use complicated VPN networks with more than one encrypted tunnel.
VPN routers do not provide this functionality.
Similarly, VPN concentrators offer SSL VPN options, whereas VPN routers only support SSL VPN connections.
This allows administrators of VPN concentrators to develop broader security in their environment.
Who Will Need a VPN Concentrator?
Businesses and organizations with hundreds and thousands of employees can benefit from a VPN concentrator.
VPN concentrators are excellent in remote work, and employees who are off-campus can make good use of this.
They provide secure tunnels for them to direct their work to their organizations without worrying about hackers or scammers stealing their data.
Are VPN Concentrators and VPN Routers the Same?
No, VPN concentrators and VPN routers are not the same. VPN concentrators are suited for big organizations and businesses, whereas VPN routers are suited for houses and domestic use.
Configuration and setting up a VPN concentrator are easier than setting up a VPN router.
This is because VPN concentrators do not have to be configured to the extent that routers do. VPN concentrators already have the necessary optimization.
What Are the Best VPN Concentrators?
This can vary depending on your use, the size of your business, and how many servers you want to connect with the concentrator.
For basic use, we recommend concentrators manufactured by Cisco.
They provide cheap VPN concentrators with good technical support and efficient security features.
Small businesses and large businesses can make good use of these devices.
VPN concentrators are devices that reinforce your VPN security and make it harder for security alliances and hackers to track your data.
If you are running a business, having a VPN concentrator can be very beneficial.
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