What is a VPN Concentrator? | GigMocha Defines
What is a VPN Router Concentrator? How do they provide an above-average level of security for corporates, military operations, and massive networks? Let’s find out.
A VPN Concentrator is an advanced security network hardware (and software) that looks like a router. It provides a higher level of security for remote users across multiple regions. VPN divides encrypted data into smaller packets and sends it over a lot of tunnels.
There’s more to VPN Concentrators than that. Don’t settle for this quick introduction. And read the whole story, especially if you’re a corporate-level VPN user.
How Does a VPN Concentrator Work?
VPN Concentrators amplify the VPN connection like a WiFi extender signal booster.
When the signal range of your WiFi signal is weak, you get a WiFi range extender or an access point.
The WiFi signal extender strengthens the signal. Let’s say you live in a large house with one router. When you’re not within the range, the signal weakens.
When you install an extender, you can boost the signal to cover more area. VPN Concentrators work similarly, but for VPN.
To understand more, let’s continue to understand how VPNs work.
A Little Bit Of Internet History
To grasp the underlying concept of VPN Concentrators, you need to understand how VPNs work.
The US Department of Defense invented the internet as a nuke-proof communication system between military bases during a Soviet nuclear attack.
Before the internet, they used phone networks to communicate. If a nuclear attack destroyed the phone network infrastructure, communication would be impossible.
When you make a call, the signal moves through a network of operators until it reaches the destination.
On that primitive internet, there are more routers to transfer the signal. So, even if the nuclear blast destroyed most of the routers, you can still make the connection.
The signal will bounce from router to router until it reaches the other side. More routers meant many paths that lead to the destination.
How VPN Help Secure Connections?
The old internet was still in the open. Anyone with the equipment can hack the signal (aka Man-In-The-Middle attacks) and steal the transmitted information.
VPN creates “tunnels” that the data can travel through securely.
Even when cybercriminals steal the data, they can’t use it. Why? Because the data inside the tunnels are encrypted.
It’s encrypted from the side of the primary server, and when it reaches its destination, the client will decrypt it. Only the client can “decrypt” the data.
As long as it’s inside the tunnel, it remains locked.
Furthermore, when the cybercriminal tries to intercept the data. The connection will reset and reroute through another router.
Because there are many routes, cybercriminals can’t listen, spoof, or steal the data.
So, how do VPN concentrators fit into the picture?
The Inner Workings Of A VPN Concentrator
VPN concentrators create more and more of these tunnels between server and client, so the data gets to travel in smaller packets at higher speeds.
If hackers want to steal the data, they’ll only steal small parts of the data, which is useless to them. On top of that, it’s encrypted data.
Thus, the VPN concentrator reduces the load on the primary VPN server by managing encryption, IP addresses, and routing.
It’s not important to have this level of security when you’re a home user or a small business. A simple VPN router will cover you.
But on a corporate level with a massive network and bazillions of overseas remote workers, this level of security is essential.
As a remote worker, you can connect to the mainframe faster and safer from anywhere you happen to be.
Plus, as a corporate, you want your traffic to be secure as your network grows bigger.
VPN Concentrators are best for a large organization with many remote workers in different regions around the world.
They’re an additional level of security to gigantic networks that are a target for cybercriminals.
Example Of VPN Concentrator In Real Life
A VPN Concentrator serves as a locked gate between the corporate network and the client. The remote employee sends encrypted data through the VPN software, the concentrator will decrypt the data and send it to the corporate network.
When the corporate network sends data to the client, the concentrator will encrypt it and send it to the client.
Types Of VPN Concentrator Encryption Protocols
You can’t know what a VPN Concentrator is until you understand how IPSec works.
The common VPN Concentrator uses the SSL/TLS protocol that doesn’t require additional configuration.
In a full tunnel when you need to access a third-party website, the client will send the data to the VPN Concentrator first. Then, the VPN Concentrator will decrypt the data, send it to the third-party website, get it back, encrypt it, and send it back to you.
In a split tunnel, the client will connect directly to the third-party website without going through the VPN Concentrator.
In site-to-site VPN, you can configure the VPN Concentrator to connect to the firewall at a remote site. The secure connection will be always-on unless the remote site turns it off.
Site-to-site VPN usually uses an advanced-level encryption protocol called IPSec. IPSec ensures that the data packets are safe and rechecked to ensure that hackers didn’t tamper with them.
Since IPSec is vendor-neutral, you’ll find it available regardless of the VPN Concentrator and firewall brand.
IPSec uses two protocols Authentication Header (AH) and Encapsulation Security Payload (ESP). And two modes of communication, transport mode, and tunnel mode.
In AH, the VPN Concentrator will protect the data with a password (shared key) that only the server and client can use to unlock the data.
ESP uses more passwords (stronger encryption) with an integrity check.
In transport mode, the IP address will be visible while the data will be encrypted. In tunnel mode, both the IP address and the data will be encrypted.
So, if someone wants to steal the data, they won’t be able to see where it’s going or coming from.
In conclusion, all these protocols work together to secure, authenticate, and protect data in a VPN Concentrator.