Abbreviation for: Virtual Private Network
Different Usage Scenarios
There are several VPN variants, some of which are not really VPNs. I will limit myself here to the classic VPN.
Connecting Company Notebook with Company Network
Classic variant, this is what this technology was invented for. The computer of the employee working externally (home office or visit to the customer) connects to the company network via DSL or mobile phone via a “VPN tunnel”. Imagine that the data is transported via a secret tunnel between the notebook and the company network, which other internet users cannot see.
Connecting private Notebook with Home Network
Since network storage devices (NAS) have become affordable even for small businesses and private use, and DSL with a flat rate has also become affordable, there has also been a need for a VPN. Since you usually don't have a fixed IP address for your private Internet connection, you have to book one separately if you want to reach your home network from outside with your smartphone or notebook. The router manufacturer AVM Berlin also offers solutions for this. You can also make free calls with your smartphone via your own telephone system using the IP protocol, provided you have a data flat rate.
Connecting private Devices with VPN Providers
There are actually many providers who have rented servers worldwide (or have their own branches for this purpose) so that interested customers can connect to them for a fee and surf the actual internet via these far-away servers with country-specific IP addresses. In this way, it is possible to circumvent so-called geo-blocks, which are actually supposed to prevent people from abroad from watching, for example, a film that is only licensed nationally.
Many of these service providers advertise their VPN products as being able to surf the web anonymously. But this is not really correct!
Even if a provider means well and really “does not track” its customers, i.e. “does not log” when you look at or download what and how often, you will be recognised or recognised again by the big data giants through digital fingerprints. Initially, only the well-known cookies were used for this purpose, i.e. small text files that saved the pages visited, the digital shopping basket of an online shop or similar.
On this website you will find many practical testimonials from me, but I do not recommend a VPN provider for private use.
- be sure to connect your PC/Mac to your employer's VPN if you work in a home office
- as a field worker, use your employer's VPN for your notebook/MacBook/tablet/smartphone
- book yourself a fixed IP address for private use if you want to have access to the home network from anywhere
Edward Snowden said on the subject of VPN: This is a “single point of failure” and meant that this can be a huge mistake if a VPN provider sees all of your data.