If you have an interest in all things, tech, then it’s likely that you will have come across the phrase “virtual network”. So, what exactly is this, and, more importantly, is this something that you should be considering having in your home or business? Read on to discover all the facts about this useful computing tool.
Virtual Networks – The Facts
A virtual network is a network in which all of the different devices are connected via wireless technology and software. Such a network can be made up of connected computers, servers, data centres and virtual machines. Because the network is created virtually in this way (rather than the traditional way of networking devices by connecting with cables), it offers the advantage of enabling the network to spread over a much greater geographic area. There are other benefits, too, such as enabling remote access (very useful in the event of any network or computer problems).
The way in which a virtual network uses software or wireless technology to make its connections means that it doesn’t have to be limited in the same way that LANs (Local Area Networks) are. A LAN is typically restricted to use in a single building or area (such as an office, or in the home), and can require a lot of cabling, making them rather cumbersome in some busy environments. Wireless LAN connections (known as WLAN) are also possible, but these networks connect by radio waves or Bluetooth technology, making them unsuitable for connections to remote devices. Instead, these types of networks are generally used to connect computers and other devices to neighbouring tech such as printers.
The Power Of A Virtual Network
A virtual network, meanwhile, is connected through the internet, using software and wireless technology, which means it can tap into the power of devices located over great distances. This form of network is therefore limitless when it comes to its potential scope, which is great news for business users, who can use the network to support remote working whilst maintaining the highest cyber security standards. As a result, cloud providers are now offering Networking as a Service (NaaS) solutions that provide virtual networks to organisations on a subscription or pay as you go basis.
Part of the appeal of virtual networking is the convenience it gives to business owners. With a virtual network, you and your staff can access their workloads securely from anywhere in the world, provided that there is an internet connection. With the ability to increase the network as your needs grow, it also represents a superb option in terms of scalability and flexibility. It can work out as a fantastic cost saver, too, when vSwitches are used to route vital functions, as this reduces the need for expensive hardware equipment to buy or maintain.
Virtual Private Networks
So, it’s clear that a virtual network is a great tool for businesses. But what about the domestic user? Is there a benefit to adopting this kind of technology in the home? The answer can be yes. Many people are creating virtual private networks (VPNs) for use in their homes, as a virtual network offers impressive security and privacy when online. Like any kind of virtual network, a VPN uses the internet to connect devices, and it can even be used to keep your smartphone or laptop secure when accessing the internet whilst out and about.
This is because a VPN creates a tunnel of protection around your online activity, effectively preventing hackers or eavesdroppers from snooping or intercepting your internet traffic. This is particularly important if you regularly use the internet in public spaces, such as coffee shops, since sophisticated cyber criminals are known to target such areas and their Wi-Fi networks. It’s also a useful extra layer of security to have whilst browsing the web at home, especially if you are conscious as to how your user data is being collected and stored by the websites you visit. Furthermore, having a VPN can even allow you to access online streaming services in far away geographic locations – ideal if you happen to have an interest in a particular sport that isn’t popular in the UK but is all the rage elsewhere!
Choosing A Virtual Network?
There are a couple of downsides to using a VPN, however, so do bear that in mind before you create one. Using a VPN can slow down your internet download speeds, so it’s unlikely to be a good choice if you live in an area where the broadband speeds are already somewhat limited. Likewise, if your household is likely to see many devices connected to the internet at the same time, a VPN will make it harder for everyone to get a good online experience.
If, however, you decide to go ahead, a good choice is to sign up to a dedicated VPN provider. Yes, you can build your own VPN at home yourself (provided you have a little tech know-how), but opting for a paid service is the most effective way to ensure your family gets the best quality security with the optimum speeds.
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