Using encrypted data packets and end-to-end authentication, a virtual private network, or VPN, enables users to safely connect to local networks from distant locations via public networks.
The term mobile VPN, or mVPN, describes systems in which users of portable devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, connect securely to fixed local networks from remote locations, through the internet, by initially connecting to wireless networks or mobile phone carrier networks. Since the user and their device are mobile by definition, this poses the most difficulties for mobile VPNs. They must access their VPN connection from various networks, frequently roam between them while they are on the go, and occasionally experience brief offline periods while doing so (or as they put their device to sleep). The purpose of a mobile VPN is to enable device authentication when connecting from these different networks.
But there are numerous issues that this raises. First of all, authentication will be more challenging because the client device’s IP address would change depending on how they access the network. Regardless of location, the device may be given a dynamic IP address, which will vary each time they connect. Additionally, the device’s IP address will change each time it connects from a new mobile or wireless network (Wi-Fi hotspot). Additionally, when a user switches between networks during roaming, the identification of the device end point will change each time. Second, the VPN session may be terminated when the device is offline, changing from one network to another, or is idle while it is in a location without a network.
How Does VPN Works?
The traditional VPN approach is the construction of a secure tunnel over the internet, effectively from one IP address to another, with the IP addresses of each end point often specified. There are two issues with this approach for mobile users.
- A mobile system cannot use IP verification if the connecting device’s IP address changes every time. This nullifies one of the authentication methods and lowers the VPN’s level of security.
- This tunnel would collapse whenever an end point’s IP changed or a device went offline.
Therefore, mobile VPNs get around this problem by using VPN software that gives the actual device a consistent static IP address rather than relying on the IP address supplied to it by the network. Additionally, they can make use of a virtualized VPN session that is maintained open while the device’s state changes and re-establishes the connection automatically when the device reconnects.
When should I use a VPN on my phone?
Any profession or sector where the customer travels frequently and works from different places can benefit from mobile VPNs, especially when the information being accessed and transferred is sensitive and must be kept safe. For instance, in the public sector, mobile VPNs might enable medical staff to access and update patient records while working outside of a clinic or hospital (i.e., in the field). The technology can be used to the same effect by other public services, such as the police, whose occupations similarly require them to be continuously on the move.
The technology, which was first popular in the public sector, is now essential to the private sector as well. Businesses are realizing its worth in enabling employees in organizations where travel is a required component of the job to continue producing work without interruption. Examples from the private sector include delivery and transportation services, workers in the utility industry, and salespeople who travel.
The adoption of mobile VPN technology is expected to pick up significant speed and subsequently spread to many facets of our lives as business and the public services come to understand the cost and productivity benefits of working securely on the go and as smartphones and tablets continue to proliferate.