We always considered software-based VPN while dealing with private network solutions. This is due to the fact that the typical readership that we have is considering the use of a VPN for their own purposes only. This means that the most obvious way for them to implement a VPN solution is to add a software on their computer and they should be ready to go. This stands true if there is no need to group multiple users and computers behind a VPN connection. But if we want a whole network to go through a VPN implementation, a dedicated VPN router may be more suitable. Learn about hardware VPN.
Why a VPN device vs software?
Before digging into the options, let’s see the differences between a software-implemented VPN versus a hardware VPN device. We are not going to choose a specific vendor, but let’s focus on few items.
Software VPN solutions
Software-based VPN is usually easier to implement. It’s just a matter of installing additional software on the user’s computer, then configuring it with the right parameters. We have to bear in mind, though, that those applications will consume more resources on the computer (for encryption purposes for example). Moreover, there’s a higher chance for that VPN system to be hacked as it is common that the computer where the VPN software is installed is also performing other duties.
Hardware VPN solutions
On the other hand, hardware VPN devices are more specialized. Brands like Cisco, Juniper or Netgear have specific VPN device for any kind of use. Although the use of the dedicated device will free resources for the user’s computer, one has to be careful while choosing the right device. Let’s see few criteria that need to be used for selecting a hardware-based VPN device
- Compatibility: first of all, your VPN device has to be compatible with your current internet connection. Most of the times, those hardware-based devices only come with an Ethernet as well as one other network component (serial, another Ethernet, …). Depending on the internet connection that you’ll be using, the model of VPN device can change. This can be a pain I, later on, you decide to change your internet service provider, or if you want to use a newer internet connection technology. In fact, most of the time, you may end up replacing your current VPN router if you ever consider changing your internet connection
- Protocols implemented: here comes the much more technical implementation side of things. Based on the other endpoint where you want to connect, you have to carefully choose the protocols that will be used between your network and the VPN provider. As an example, if your VPN service provider is implementing 3DES, then you need to choose a VPN router that can also communicate with that protocol.
When it comes to connecting a whole network through a VPN solution, you’re better off opting for a dedicated hardware-based solution. It only does VPN implementation (no other software runs on it that can create some security breaches) thereby freeing resources from the user’s computer.