Remote Access VPN or Site-to-Site VPN?

A VPN is the right arm of any savvy internet user. They’re used by people the world over for a variety of reasons, but everyone shares one reason in common: safety. Be anonymous, and access services online that are unavailable in your country. It makes sense, right? Well that’s just a couple of driving points for anyone who’s on the fence, but it’s important to know that people use them for different reasons, and how that affects their decision when choosing the right service.

Businesses use them so their employees can communicate privately between office locations; so remote workers can securely access the company’s digital resources; and most importantly, so it all happens safely and securely.

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is a key aspect to communication. With calls made through the public internet they become much cheaper – but also vulnerable. That’s why a VPN is especially important for businesses; both large and small. If you’re not using a VPN for your VoIP communications, click here to learn how it will benefit you.

Accessing geo-restricted content; whether that’s exclusive on-demand services like BBC iPlayer, or even online gambling sites; is one of the more popular reasons for personal VPN downloads. Another more common one for the home user is discreet torrenting. While illegal, P2P sharing is common practice for a large portion of those with an active VPN. Uploading… downloading… either way, choosing the right provider – and the correct type of VPN for you – will ensure your online presence remains private.  

If you’re about to select your own provider, or you’re maybe looking to change to something with more support, you should know the differences between the two types of VPN; and which one is right for your day-to-day requirements.

Site-to-Site VPN

There are two types of site-to-site VPNs: one intranet based, one extranet based. For those looking to go intranet based, it’ll require connecting numerous LANs (local access networks) to a WAN (wide access network). A major benefit of this system is a large reduction in cost, according to studies made by Cabletron. For extranet based, more than two separate intranet connections can access the shared network, without being able to gain access to each other; which maintains personal privacy.

Site-to-Site VPNs give users a secure connection to the public network. That way, they can privately access the resources of fixed locations around the world. It’s one of the main reasons site-to-site is favored among corporate users. Their employees from anywhere — and on any device – can access what they need to. And the important thing is, it’s secure, and flexible to meet individual needs.

Not only that, but it offers solid protection against problems like DNS leaks, as well as other issues that may expose private information. A negative of the site-to-site VPN, however, is that the heavy flow of traffic through the VPN gates causes a throttle on bandwidth; otherwise known as ‘bottlenecking’. It’s at the discretion of each company to decide what traffic flows through the VPN, and what they direct straight to the public network.

It’s rare for personal users to have site-to-site VPNs because they simply don’t require the functionality. Unless you’re a remote worker employed from home, there’s not much need to connect with multiple other users across a number of fixed locations. Plus, the further throttling on bandwidth would hardly be worth it.

Remote Access VPN

Now this is geared more towards the personal user. If you’re a frequent browser, and looking for secure access to public hotspots and networks, it’s the option for you. If connected to a remote access VPN, all traffic will be routed to the remote network via your dedicated VPN client, and all information will be encrypted.

The way it works is, your device connects to an RAS (remote access server) using the internet, and your VPN client ensures secure communication through that tunnel, basically. Then before it reaches the targeted network, the data is decrypted and sent to the correct host, without compromising your online safety.

Accessing streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu is popular for private users. But it’s not the only reason for using a VPN. Privately sharing P2P files, breaking out of a country’s restrictive web censorship, or just so your entries into popular search engines aren’t logged, people benefit from using them in a number of ways. While they may slow down your connection speeds – sometimes as much as 50-percent – there are a lot of advantages to cloaking your online activities.

Site-to-site offers more protection for businesses against problems like DNS leaks, but remote access is useful for them too. Employees who need a secure connection to the main network, while on the road, working from home, or out the country, can do so. And all calls through VoIP can be made without a threat to the private network too.