What Does OpenVPN Mean?
OpenVPN is an open-source virtual private network (VPN) protocol that utilizes SSL/TLS encryption to create secure and encrypted tunnels for data transmission. It operates across various operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
How OpenVPN Enables Secure Connection
OpenVPN uses OpenSSL, a cryptography software library that incorporates the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols, which in turn secure communications. With a pre-shared key and a certificate, the OpenVPN client and server authenticate each other. To protect data packets traveling through the tunnel, OpenVPN employs 256-bit encryption. This encryption provides the messages sent between the sender and receiver with confidentiality and tamper-proof. For instance, when a remote user wishes to access diagnostics information from a smart meter, they connect an OpenVPN client to the smart meter gateway, creating a secure tunnel between the two devices.
Data Transport Choices: TCP or UDP
On the transport layer, OpenVPN there is a possibility to choose between Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for data transmission between the client and server. TCP prioritizes accuracy over speed, numbering data packets and confirming their correct arrival order. Though this approach may slow down the process, it prevents errors, making it suitable for most use cases where accuracy is paramount. On the other hand, UDP prioritizes speed over accuracy. It doesn't number data packets or check for errors, making it more suitable for use cases where latency is more critical than potential inaccuracies. For instance, video streaming benefits from the speed-oriented approach of UDP, while device interactions benefit from the reliability of TCP.
OpenVPN vs. Private APN
OpenVPN and Private APN (Access Point Name) are used for secure communication in different contexts:
Open-source VPN protocol
Cellular network feature
Secure internet connections
Secure IoT and M2M communications
Utilizes the internet as the transport medium
Operates within a cellular network infrastructure
Provides strong encryption for data
Offers encryption for data over cellular network
Connects remote devices to a private network
Creates a private network within the operator's infrastructure
Can work with various internet connections
Primarily used in cellular-based applications
Highly configurable and customizable
Requires configuration with the cellular operator
Can require more setup and configuration
Usually simpler to set up and manage
Remote access, VPN services, secure browsing
IoT and M2M applications, secure device communication
Operates over public and private networks
Limited to the operator's cellular network