VPN concentrator: What is it and do you need one?

Working from home can be a blast. But how safe is it anyway? Dollars to doughnuts, not as safe as you think. Therefore, more and more remote workers are turning to VPN (Virtual Private Network) concentrators for help. They’re great for big companies, but are they your best bet? And what are these things anyway? Let’s find out.

What is a VPN concentrator?

A VPN concentrator is a networking device that allows several VPN tunnels to run simultaneously with access to the main VPN network. In that sense, VPN concentrators are similar to VPN routers, just on a bigger scale.

To paint a more vivid picture, imagine a typical cartoon sun: the middle part is the concentrator and every ray of sunshine a different VPN tunnel with an employee using remote access at the end of them.

Dropping the analogy, VPN concentrators create multiple encrypted VPN tunnels simultaneously and generate an encrypted and secure connection between VPN nodes. As such, these concentrators manage several VPN connections from a remote location (usually the company’s main office). 

One such tool can serve thousands of users at the same time and generate a VPN tunnel for each of them. With its help, employees can safely access the firm’s home network from anywhere in the world.

What does it do?

A VPN concentrator is typically used for managing VPN communication infrastructures. It can:

Establish and configure tunnels
Allow you to easily run several VPN tunnels at once.
Authenticate users
Ensure that only the company’s employees can access the corporate network and resources.
Assign IP addresses to users
Provide a different IP address to each employee.
Encrypt data
Guarantee that all shared data is encrypted.
Ensure end-to-end delivery of files
Protect and optimize the process of sharing files and other data between VPN tunnels.

Do you need a VPN concentrator?

If you’re working from home just looking to secure your network, the answer is no. A VPN concentrator is useful for big companies and should be the concern of your workplace. If you’re a representative of a company looking to secure your corporate network while employees work remotely, a VPN concentrator may be the perfect solution.

Of course, it all depends on the size of your company and your needs. Then again, when you want to make sure your employees can use a protected VPN network and still have full access to the company’s resources, nothing beats VPN concentrators.

How much does a VPN concentrator cost?

VPN concentrator prices differ depending on the needs of your company. Some can easily handle 10 thousand clients, while others can’t support more than 10 simultaneous connections. 

As you can guess, the bigger your company is, the higher the price will be. 

Some of the cheapest VPN concentrators start at around 200 USD, however, the price can be a lot higher. For example, Cisco VPN concentrators can go up to 12 thousand USD.

If you’re not a company, you probably want a VPN

A VPN concentrator is an essential tool for big companies that wish to ensure the safety of their workflow. That being said, they are not for everyone. Most people just looking to protect their traffic will be fine with a simple VPN.

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