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Traditionally, VPNs were used to offer a secure link between companies and their remote branches. Additionally, they were used to link roaming employees with the company’s network. However, in the recent past, VPNs have been widely used to connect consumers in public networks thus raising the need for a secure connection. The purpose of this essay is to describe the protocol framework that encrypts the VPN traffic and the corresponding protocols used to ensure a secure connection.
The VPN traffic is encrypted using an open standard framework referred to as IPsec (Internet Protocol Security). IPsec is responsible for authenticating and encrypting data packets sent via a network (Wang, Iyer, Dutta, Rouskas, & Baldine, 2013). The function of IPsec is to spell out the necessary rules used to secure communications. In protecting and authenticating IP packets, IPsec is designed to work at the network layer. IPsec is used in different VPN configurations including host-to-host configuration, network-to-network configuration and network-to-host configuration. The implementation of IPsec is directed by the Security Architecture for the Internet protocol commonly identified as RFC 2401. Also, IPsec is made of two main protocols, RFC 2402 and RFC 2406, which are Authentication Header (AH) and Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) respectively (Wang et al. 2013). The two protocols have different functions. Authentication Header (AH), which is rarely used nowadays, is responsible for providing datagrams authentication services while Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) is responsible for encrypting and/or authenticating data. Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) ensures confidentiality by carrying out encryption at the IP packet layer.
To sum it up, the protocol framework that encrypts the VPN traffic is IPsec (Internet Protocol Security). IPsec is made of two main protocols, RFC 2402 and RFC 2406 which are Authentication Header (AH) and Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) respectively.
Wang, A., Iyer, M., Dutta, R., Rouskas, G. N., & Baldine, I. (2013). Network virtualization: Technologies, perspectives, and frontiers. Journal of Lightwave Technology, 31(4), 523-537.
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