Setting Up a Virtual Private Network in Windows

If you’re out of the office and need to use a network resource such as a printer or file server, you’re often out of luck. Unless you dial directly into the company’s server, you won’t be able to access network resources. Moreover, using a dialup line is not a cheap alternative (besides the slow speed), especially if you are overseas.

Your best bet is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows you to establish a secure, encrypted connection to the office’s network, using a public network such as the Internet. Using a VPN, you can work as though you are connected to your company’s network, no matter where you are in the world.

There are two main types of VPNs:

  • User-to-Network
    This type of VPN allows a client to use a VPN to connect to a secure network, such as a corporate intranet.
  • Network-to-Network
    This type of VPN connects two networks via a VPN connection. This effectively combines two disparate networks into one, eliminating the need for a Wide Area Network (WAN).

In this article I will explain the basics of VPNs and show you how to set up one yourself using Windows 2003 Server and Windows XP Professional.



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