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Microsoft® Windows Server 2003: Administrator’s Companion by Jason Gerend, Sharon Crawford, Charlie Russel

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Understanding Virtual Private Networks

A VPN is an extension of a private network across a public network such as the Internet. Using a VPN, connections across the public network can transfer data in a form that resembles a private Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) link. VPNs use the routing infrastructure of the Internet, but to the user it appears as though the data were being sent over a dedicated private link.

The appeal of a VPN is the Internet and its global presence. Communication links can be made quickly, cheaply, and safely across the world. Dedicated private lines aren’t required, and security can be configured at very high levels. Infonetics Research in its “User Plans for VPN Products and Services, US/Canada 2002” report ...

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