Security

What Dedicated Hardware Device Aggregates Hundreds or Thousands of VPN Connections?

By Novak Bozovic / May 26, 2021

The only type of dedicated hardware that can aggregate hundreds or even thousands of VPN connections is – a VPN concentrator. You can think of it as a large-scale hardware system, suitable for enterprise users primarily. As such, VPN concentrators should not be confused with typical VPN services you'll find online. 

You won't find too much on-point information about VPN concentrators online, as this is a unique type of hardware (used only in specific cases). So, we've done our best to explain the essentials of that hardware technology. With that said, let’s jump right in.

What Is a VPN Concentrator?

A VPN concentrator is a dedicated hardware device that creates a large number of encrypted VPN tunnels, establishing communication between VPN nodes.

The need to create a large number of encrypted VPN tunnels typically exists in corporate environments, where numerous employees gain the ability to access their company’s home network remotely. Considering that we’re talking about encrypted VPN connections here, this setup ensures proper security and privacy for everyone involved.

As you can see, VPN concentrators are at the very core of those networks, typically working in conjunction with a firewall. So, if you've used a typical VPN service in the past, you already have a clear idea of what's a VPN concentrator. You just have to imagine that system on a much larger scale, serving thousands of users at any given moment.

What Does a VPN Concentrator Do?

The primary role of a VPN concentrator is to ensure that a large number of individuals have access to a certain network, making each of those connections secure and private. Here’s what else a VPN concentrator can do:

Serving as the core of a centralized system, a VPN concentrator is in charge of handling that system’s entire data flow. Thanks to tunneling protocols, that device can encapsulate and encrypt outgoing and incoming data by breaking it down into "packets." 

Since everything that flows through VPN tunnels is encrypted, no one outside of the designated centralized network will gain access to that network. In addition to encryption and decryption, that is made possible by cryptographic keys as well. 

Tip

In essence, VPN concentrators aren’t that much different from typical VPN services. So, if you’re just getting started with this technology, check out the basics of VPN services. And then, you’ll want to learn about the way VPN services work

Who Uses VPN Concentrators?

VPN concentrators are typically used within large businesses or corporate environments. It doesn’t really make much sense to use them on a smaller scale.

When it comes to today’s VPN concentrators, they’re made to handle more than 10,000 users effortlessly. That number gives you a clear idea of the primary user group of this technology.

Since VPN concentrators are challenging to set up and maintain while also presenting a significant expense from the get-go, they're not suitable for home users or small- or even medium-sized businesses.

VPN Concentrator vs. VPN Router? Which One Should You Use?

VPN services, VPN concentrators, and VPN routers introduce plenty of confusion overall, as they seem to be backed by the same set of technologies. That's true, but only up to a certain point. So, let's see the differences between VPN concentrators and VPN routers. 

With that said, if you’re a small business owner, we highly recommend checking our list of the best VPNs for business-related purposes (if you need a ready-to-use solution). In case you'd like to set up your own network, don't forget to consult our list of the best VPN routers for small businesses

When it comes to home users, they should use a traditional VPN service, which comes as a VPN client for their device(s). That means that you can decide whether to install your chosen VPN on your computer, smartphone, or tablet, or perhaps you can install it on your router. Of course, before you do that, here’s our list of the best VPN services available right now.

Is a VPN Concentrator the Same as a VPN Service?

No, a VPN concentrator isn't the same as a VPN service. There are some similarities there, but it's crucial to know what each of those technologies represents.

A VPN concentrator is what makes VPN connections possible on a large scale. Without it, you can't connect to a corporate network in a secure way. With that said, a VPN concentrator is the backbone of that system, managing everything that happens in a single network.

A "traditional" VPN service is a consumer-oriented product. You can find many VPNs on the Web, and they’re designed for single users (for the most part). They require you to download a client (software) to access their network, and that’s it. You won’t deal with any hardware, as everything will come already automated.

At the moment, the most popular VPN concentrators come from Cisco, ShoreTel, and Aruba. All of those companies serve enterprise customers primarily.

Cisco’s Meraki VPN concentrators are ideal for exceptionally large companies, and they’re known for their ease of deployment. ShoreTel concentrators allow their users to install remote IP telephony networks, while Aruba is a Hewlett-Packard company providing solutions to any type of business.

So, that would be all you need to know about VPN concentrators. In case you have any doubts or questions, make sure to post your comment below. And lastly, thank you for reading!



For a better user experience we recommend using a more modern browser. We support the latest version of the following browsers: For a better user experience we recommend using the latest version of the following browsers: