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What's the difference between a private network, as opposed to a virtual private network?

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A private network... is basically a network inside of one building... controlled entirely by one entity. Think of "private" in the same context as "private-property". A virtual private network means it may have several private networks that appear to be the same network that may be connected together through some sort of tunnel through a much larger network (the internet?). People attached to any place in the private network can talk directly to any other attached device in that private network... even if 1/2 of the network is located across the country only connected a tunnel to the other side.

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A private network can also be in multiple buildings with a WAN, or a LAN that extends to a nearby building. A private network is focused to one entity or group of users, without allowing users without proper credentials to access or view the network from the internet. A private network is typically managed on premises where the network is used, by using a private IP address that does not overlap its public address, where the hosts typically do not need to access the internet.

A Virtual Private Network offers private network services, but is accessed remotely via the internet with point-to-point connections using tunneling protocols, instead of the standard internet protocols (IP). It can only be accessed by users with the correct credentials. Information can be stored, maintained, enhanced, altered, or etc. on a VPN for the use of an entire organization, or only a portion of the organization (just as a private network). Below are some resources that you can check out for more information about VPN's and Private networks.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731954(v=WS.10).aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc958825.aspx

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