Three types of private connections

A private connection is, as the word implies, a connection that is used by only one organisation. In practice, however, it appears that a private connection is more difficult to define, because when is a connection really private? When we talk about private connections at Fundaments, we are talking about the use of dark fibre, private connections at Ethernet level via VLANs and VPN. Below we briefly discuss the three types of private connections.

 

Three types of private connections

Private connections

Dark fibre

The term dark fibre is used for an unexposed fibre. Either a fibre-optic connection that doesn’t have any active equipment connected to it and can’t yet ‘transport’ data. Dark fibre can be connected on request, after which own equipment is connected to it. This will create a private connection between, for example, your own location and the data centre from which Fundaments operates. Because you’re the only one using this connection, this is one of the most secure ways to get your data to another location or cloud. It’s also one of the fastest connections. After all, you have the entire connection at your disposal and you determine the capacity yourself by the equipment that you connect to the dark fibre. A speed of ten gigabits per second is very normal.

Dark fibre is therefore a very secure, fast and reliable connection. However, you must purchase the equipment yourself to illuminate the dark fibre.

All advantages and disadvantages of dark fibre at a glance:

Advantages: 

  • Very secure way of data transport;
  • Very fast speed;
  • Very reliable;
  • Good to manage, because it’s a private environment.

Disadvantages:

  • Inflexible: it’s not easy to move or change provider;
  • High purchase costs;
  • Knowledge is needed in-home (or must be outsourced) in order to properly connect and maintain everything.

Private connections at Ethernet level via VLANs

Another type of private connection is a private connection at the Ethernet level via VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks). From your organisation you are connected to an already existing network of an open and independent broadband platform such as NDIX by means of a fibre optic cable. From there you can join the existing connections that are already present on the network. At the heart of the network, your data is separated by VLAN from data of the other users of the network.

With this type of private connection, you don’t have to make an expensive investment, but you pay a monthly fee for the purchase of a certain speed and for the use of the CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) that will be installed at your own location. This CPE often has multiple ports, so you can also easily access internet via fibre.

The pros & cons at a glance:

Advantages:

  • Because an already existing network is used, it will be more flexible than a dark fibre. You can easily change providers within the network;
  • Guaranteed speed, because a well-known, pre-agreed transfer takes place;
  • No high investment costs;
  • No (additional) knowledge is required for organising and managing the network;
  • Via the CPE you can also easily obtain a fast internet connection;
  • Reliable.

Disadvantages:

  • It is not a 100% private connection;
  • You must have your own CPE at each location and pay a monthly fee for this.

VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a private connection via the internet. It’s a sort of tunnel that is created by the internet that only your data goes through. This can be secured with a username and password, but also with an SSL certificate. With this certificate all traffic is encrypted. By using an (SSL) VPN, someone who is not in the internal network can still connect to this network. This is especially useful for people who work from home.

Of the three private connections, VPN is the least secure. Although a VPN is secured, it remains an unknown path that many take. A smart hacker can do damage faster than through the above connections. A second disadvantage of this connection is that the speed depends on the path that is taken and can therefore be variable.

A brief overview of the pros and cons of VPN:

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive;
  • Flexible. Wherever there’s internet, your network can be reached.

Disadvantages:

  • Less reliable internet is used;
  • Your data follows an unknown path;
  • VPN is often based on open source components such as SSL. These parts have recently had several negative reports in the news because of discovered leaks.

Which private connection do you choose?

As you’ve read above, there are different types of private connections, where dark fibre is the most secure and VPN the least secure. It’s striking that a high level of security also entails high speed, reliability and costs and, conversely, a lesser degree of flexibility. And the same applies conversely: a high degree of flexibility results in lower costs, but also lower security, reliability and speed.

Which private connection is the most suitable for your organisation? This strongly depends on the degree of security, speed, latency, reliability and flexibility you want. For example, a large part of the banking system opts for a connection via dark fibre. This is due to the degree of confidentiality of the data, but also because more requirements are imposed on the latency, for example high speed trading.

There are also many companies that work in the cloud and therefore want a high speed, but don’t want to invest too much themselves. They opt for a private connection at Ethernet level via VLANs.

It’s also possible to have a combination of these different connections. So, you can use dark fibre to bring all your data from your organisation to the cloud and use a VPN for the employees who work from home and can still access the business network.

Want to know more about the use of private connections? Please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to tell you more about it.

 

Would you like to know more about private connections?
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“By using Fundaments’ platform and expertise we have made a leap forward as a company in professionalising our part of the chain.’’
Jeroen Mahler
Managing Director of CoBrowser
Excellent flexibility
“Fundaments’ excellent flexibility is also an important factor. The viewpoint of making sure something is fixed before talking about the invoice is very helpful to us.”
Jeroen Mahler
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Modern smart firewall
"We were looking for a solution that would help defend us against every possible vector attack. We really needed a modern, smart firewall and with the Fundaments Next Generation Redundant Firewall offer, based on Fortinet technology, we have got exactly what we wanted. It was a logical choice for us.”
Maarten Huijs
Engineer at Kempen Automatisering
Trusting a partner
"Sometimes specific knowledge is imperative and it isn’t always profitable to acquire this in-house. It’s great to be able to trust a partner who takes that worry away, who’s familiar with the subject and doesn’t immediately send an invoice for every little thing. This partner will have an ongoing conversation with you: what is it you need, how can we tackle this and find a solution? That’s what Fundaments does."
Richard Hagen of the Rolf group
Multiple physical locations
"If the customer wants to have their data stored in several physical locations in view of DR, this is possible. But whether it’s a customised option or well-planned standard options, the customer doesn’t have to worry about a thing. That’s the beauty of the new ways of BU and DR"
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Good solution with less costs
“When you look at the connectivity costs, meaning the private connections, as a part of migrating to the cloud, where you no longer need your own hardware or maintenance, your insurance policy is reduced, the company’s energy expenditure goes down and other expenses become smaller, you will see that this is really a good solution.”
Jeroen Bruggeman
Enterprise Administrator at CNS-IT
Security is no.1
At Cobrowser they’ve noticed a huge difference in how companies deal with security. “There are companies who consider this not so important. It’s essential to us to find a partner who takes security seriously. That’s why we’ve chosen Fundaments. Security is a very natural element of our collaboration.”
Frank Leegstra
Director and security officer of CoBrowser
Time saving and significantly reduced down time
“We can now reduce the actual down time with a migration to minutes instead of hours. This means many advantages for our customers and that’s the most important thing. In addition, it saves time for our engineers.”
Harm Jan Stam
Technical Supervisor at Oxilion