Tutorial for using your VPN

In the previous section "VPN Server" it was explained what a VPN exactly is. In this section some aspects such as the pros and cons of technology are described, the different protocols used in the VPN and finally a tutorial will be explained so you can get the most out of your VPN. If you still do not have a VPN then please visit our VPN Provider section.

VPN: Pros and Cons

Like many commercialized network technologies, a significant amount of sales and trade marketing bombards the VPN. In fact, the benefits a VPN can provide can vary from user to user and also depends on their needs, specifically it varies according to the type of VPN and the type of protocol used. The benefits can be enormous but generally may have some costs. Potential problems with the VPN can reach outnumber of advantages and are generally more difficult to understand. This does not necessarily mean that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Therefore you need to be sure about whether or not to use a VPN and then make the necessary planning and preparation as there is a wide range of suppliers which are sometimes incompatible in certain contexts. Among the main problems that may arise in the VPN, we can find:

  1. VPNs require detailed understanding of network security issues and careful installation and configuration to ensure adequate protection espcially in public internet network.
  2. The reliability and performance of Internet-based VPN are not under the direct control of the organization. Actually this is on the internet service provider (ISP) and their quality of service.
  3. Recently, VPN products and solutions from different manufacturers have not always been compatible due to issues with VPN technology standards. When trying to mix and match equipment technical problems may occur. In addition, the use of equipment from a providor might not result in huge saving of capital as it could be initially thought.

What makes possible a VPN

Like IP, a VPN works with other Internet protocols, they are:

PPTP:Point to Point Tunneling Protocol. Normally associated with Microsoft because it benefits Windows.

L2TP:Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. Used primarily by CISCO products and is the main competitor of PPTP.

IPsec:Internet Protocol Security. This protocol is rather special since it can serve as an intermediary between PPTP and T2TP.

SOCKS:In this protocol, clients can communicate with the Internet servers through the so-called "Firewalls." It is typically used by "Proxy" servers.

These protocols are responsible for authentication and encryption of VPNs. On the one hand, the authentication allows VPN clients and servers to establish identity politicies of the people in the network. On the other hand, the encryption allows potentially sensitive data to be hidden from the general public. In most of the cases VPN providors have developed VPN hardware and/or software products. Unfortunately, some VPN standards makes that some of these products remain incompatible.

Tutorial for the use of a VPN

Due to there are different VPN types depending on the VPN protocol they follow, here you will find a general and generic tutorial that would be usefull for most VPN providers and two tutorials for the use in the operating systems globally known. It is important to highlight you must firstly make sure which internet protocol is used by your VPN provider and then you can follow the appropriate tutorial.

VPN Tutorial Recommended for Corporative Use

First of all, you need to get the appropriate VPN software; in companies usually the IT department is responsible for obtaining it. The user must install the client software on his/her computer and then the person can gain access to enterprise servers. The IT department should check the equipment specifications and the VPN to make sure they are compatible. If they are not then changes must be made to ensure access to the VPN and a assure a proper installation of the software.

It is advisable to restart the computer after the VPN software installation. When the computer is ready then the user must connect to the Internet. If you are at home, the equipment shall be connected automatically. If you are somewhere other than your home and at work, or in public network as in an airport for example, you may have to manually connect to the Internet if you have not been connected from this place before. On computers running Windows Vista or Windows 7 it is easier because they will automatically detect the network and ask if you want to connect.

After the software is ready, you have to find the icon for your VPN provider in the computer desktop, when you start you must enter your username and password, this is what will guarantee the entry to the enterprise network. Hereinafter, processes can change depending on the VPN settings made by the company. However, the VPN software will open a new window that looks like your desk at work, also known as a virtual desktop, there you can access the resources of the company. Or, you may have to open the web browser and enter a secure domain where you can access the resources of your company. If the VPN session does not start a virtual desktop, then the IT department must provide instructions for accessing their resources.

VPN Tutorial for Windows

As previously mentioned Windows computers tend to favor the PPTP protocol so this tutorial is presented for such equipment as they are the most used globally. However, Windows has a built-in VPN client that supports PPTP, L2TP and IPsec.

To start using a VPN this service provider must have installed on your computer equally as in a corporative tutorial. In our "VPN provider" there are some suggested VPN providers. Once you have your VPN provider installed on your computer then press the start button and type VPN. Afterwards, a setup screen will appear. Then you must click on "set up a virtual private network (VPN)." When you have done this then a window will pop out, on it you have to assign the Internet address of your VPN as well as the destination name, the latter is basically your username. Finally you must click on create and your VPN settings will be completed.

Later on, when you have set up your VPN the next step is to connect. This procedure is quite simple. To start you must click on your own internet icon which is located next to the clock on your computer. Here you can find some options that will show the possible connections as well as the available wi-fi networks. Then, you must click on the existing connection, which will be the name of your VPN provider; then you have to enter your user name and password, and this would be enough.

As soon as you complete this procedure you may use the internet without any problem through its VPN. You should only visit the internet pages you are interested in and the ones you could not see before or connect to any computer to which you have access.

VPN tutorial for Mac computers

To use VPN services on Mac computers a service provider software is also needed. As soon as you get it then, click on the Apple logo and then select "system settings", there you must click on "Network", if that is blocked then you must click on it to unlock; if it is not blocked then you should skip this step. After that, add the network through the plus button beneath the available networks.

When the previous par is ready a window with the options will pop up: Interface, VPN type and Service Name. For the first option you should selected "VPN", for the second one you have to choose PPTP (or prescribed by your VPN operator); in the service name you must select your VPN service operator (eg OpenVPN or BTGuard) and finish by clicking on the button "create."

At the end of this phase, a new menu will appear in the window "Network." In the list of settings you must select "default". In Server address you must enter the webpage of your VPN server, however, in most cases, this option appears by default. In the field "Account Name" you have to enter your username. To complete this part you must select the box that says "Show VPN status in menu bar."

Upon completion of the above process a window where the user has to enter his/her password appears. If the password is correct then the user must click on "Advanced." In the options tab the item "send all traffic through the VPN connection" has to be selected. In the next part the option "use the VPN for a limited time" to connect the VPN for a limited time and then logout automatically.

Finally, you must apply the changes and the VPN is ready for use. If you want to connect to your VPN then click on the button that has multiple lines, which is in the upper right corner and then select your VPN provider. If everything is fine then a timer will appear.

Additionally, there are VPN services running on mobile devices such as tablets, iPads, iPhones or smartphones. The use of VPN in these devices can be a little unstable depending on the Internet service provider and due to the type of device. VPN settings on these devices can vary, so you need to observe the instructions on the apps stores offering the VPN for your device.

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