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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick Technical Tip : Tunneling

Tunneling is a way in which data is transferred between two networks securely. All the data that is being transferred are fragmented into smaller packets or frames and then passed through the tunnel. This process is different from a normal data transfer between nodes. Every frame passing through the tunnel will be encrypted with an additional layer of tunneling encryption and encapsulation which is also used for routing the packets to the right direction. This encapsulation would then be reverted at the destination with decryption of data which is later sent to the desired destined node.
Example: People have written tunnels over ICMP, DNS, HTTP, e-mail messages, and TCP connections. Tunnels can either by of the "port redirector" style (which run on top of any TCP/IP stack) or of the network interface variety (below the TCP/IP stack requiring kernel mod).
VPN connection are of two type, PPTP (Point-to-Point tunneling protocol) and L2TP (Layer 2 tunneling protocol). Both PPTP and L2TP tunnels are nothing but local sessions between two different endpoints. Incase they have to communicate then the tunneling type must be negotiated between the endpoint, either PPTP or L2TP and then more configurable parameters like encryption, address assignment, compression etc must be configured in order to get the best possible security over the internet based private logical tunnel communication. This communication is created, maintained and terminated using a tunnel management protocol.
Data can be sent once the tunnel is in place and clients or server can use the same tunnel to send and receive data across the internetwork. The data transfer depends upon the tunneling protocols being used for the transfer.

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