To a certain extent, virtual private networks have always been fairly straightforward. Packets are encapsulated, placed in a particular VPN protocol, then transmitted and finally de-encapsulated on the receiving end.
The client is almost always stationary; therefore, the network it is connected to does not change. Once a VPN tunnel is established, it requires continuous maintenance of a single network connection. If altered, the tunnel will collapse -- thus the need for a mobile VPN.
Mobile VPNs differ from the traditional VPNs that most administrators are used to working with. That's because mobile VPNs are designed around virtual IP addresses, which allow users to stay connected to established remote application sessions even while roaming among different wired and wireless networks.
This provides numerous benefits that traditional VPNs can't provide when the network connection changes. The most important are that users don't have to re-authenticate when roaming the network, nor do they experience a loss of authentication that crashes applications.
There are several other advantages to having a mobile VPN, but all rely on the design and sustainability of the back-end gateway systems that support mobile users. Consider the following suggestions when designing and implementing a mobile VPN network to deliver the high quality of service that users expect:
Selecting the right wireless vendor is extremely important. The quality of coverage can vary from provider to provider, especially for statewide access. Here are some key questions to ask service providers:
Coverage has a huge impact on the end-user experience. Many problems that users encounter are caused by not being able to connect to the Internet simply because they're located in a poor coverage area.
Finally, keep in mind that technology is always evolving. Consider hardware that has upgradeable features to accommodate future wireless technology.