Comparing Hardware VPN vs. Software VPN
VPNs are a popular tool among individuals and companies. They are one of the most effective and commonly used tools to provide network security. With a VPN, you can have a secure online tunnel and create a site to site or point to point connection. You can also route or bridge configurations for remote access through a VPN.
You can link users through secure links as well. Generally, a VPN ensures that every exchange that takes place online is secure and protected from unauthorized access. Hardware VPN vs. software VPN are two types of VPNs you would have to choose from, but what is the difference between them?
Both types of VPNs offer you varying levels of features, but the ultimate decision depends on what you are looking for. Note however that software VPN has an advantage over hardware VPN due to its scalability and flexibility.
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What Is A VPN?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. It’s a security and privacy tool that keeps your online activities private and secure. It acts as an intermediary tunnel of encryption between you and the internet. So when you send data to a web server, the VPN receives the request, processes it, and then sends it on your behalf to the target server. in the process, your IP address changes and your identity is hidden. The encryption of the tunnel also protects your data so that no eavesdropper can know the content of the exchange.
A software VPN provides you with the primary functions of a VPN which are security and anonymity. With a software VPN however, data encryption occurs on your device and not on separate hardware. Even though some devices come with inbuilt VPN clients, you can still install a third-party VPN client like LimeVPN. by this, there isn’t any need for additional expenses on hardware for encryption. Every expenditure for server maintenance would be the responsibility of the VPN service provider.
The benefits of using a software VPN for both businesses and individuals include:
- Secure connections when connecting to a public Wi-Fi
- Secure a home or office network by installing a VPN on a router
- Overcome geo-blocks
- A replacement for intranet
- It’s easy to use and doesn’t require advanced technical knowledge
- It’s not as expensive as a hardware VPN
A hardware VPN is a device that provides you with the features of a software VPN. instead of having the VPN software installed in your device, there is the presence of actual hardware that routes your traffic through its servers and encrypts your connection. You can see hardware VPN as a VPN firewall or VPN router.
Just as with a software VPN, hardware VPNs manage your internet connections and encrypt your traffic using the hardware resources you have. Since the hardware VPN uses its inbuilt processor to handle its tasks such as encryption, your devices would have more processing power as they are free of this task.
Hardware VPNs are beneficial to a lot of big businesses in the following ways:
- Your data isn’t going through any third party VPN service providers, so you are sure of privacy
- You get a dedicated IP address
- There are powerful firewalls
- The company’s intranet network can get remote access
- Easy and quick security for your home or office as every device connects to the internet through the device
- Increase in bandwidth by adding more VPN tunnels
Hardware VPN vs Software VPN: Comparison
In comparing hardware VPN vs software VPN, we would be looking at the key factors that improve your user experience as you use a VPN.
Initially, the speed of VPNs varied as hardware VPNs were faster than software VPNs. This was the case because computers had slower processing power and couldn’t multitask efficiently. But with the improvement in processor technology, software VPNs are equally fast. You may encounter some issues while using software VPNs, but they can be easily fixed by restarting your device.
Both hardware and software VPNs provide you equal levels of security. Hackers exploit hardware VPNs more than software VPNs. When a vulnerability is discovered on a brand that provides hardware VPNs, most companies are not swift in fixing patches because of the interruptions the update would cause. Note that the vulnerabilities are threats to the users and by being left unfixed, hackers can seize the opportunity.
Software VPNs are both free and paid. Free VPNs have the reputation of containing malware, and also track your online activity. This defeats the purpose of even using a VPN in the first place, so you would need to find a reliable VPN service provider. Software VPNs also have a higher chance of being more secure since the professionals handle security issues. They also swiftly patch any vulnerabilities that exist to reduce any threats to your data and connection.
If you choose to go for a hardware VPN, you would be purchasing a device. Hardware VPNs are of different price ranges and it depends on their features. Apart from the cost of purchase, you will also need someone with technical know-how to install and maintain the device. The installation comes with its own cost, and so does maintenance.
With a software VPN, you only pay for the subscription. This subscription could be monthly or yearly and it’s a one-time payment. Once you have subscribed, the service provider would handle maintenance and other issues.
4. Available Locations
In the comparison; hardware VPN vs software VPN where it concerns locations, software VPNs have the upper hand. There are many virtual locations you can connect to with a software VPN. so if you need access to a site, content, or app, it’s easy. You can also use software VPNs to easily bypass government blocks and firewalls in countries like China where there is heavy internet censorship.
Hardware VPNs on the other hand can only be available where there are physically located. So you won’t have access to blocked content and sites due to your location.
5. Remote Access
When remote access is the topic of discussion, hardware VPN gives you more advantages than software VPNs. With hardware VPNs, companies can have an encrypted connection from remote locations to their intranet. It’s an efficient way to ensure your communication lines are secure, but it’s not easy to set up just like the device itself. So you would need to have trained personnel to utilize this function properly.
Software VPNs are not the best for secure remote access connections due to the constantly changing IP address. Each time you connect to a VPN server, it’s highly possible that you connect using a different IP address.
VPN scalability is an important factor that businesses consider when they consider hardware VPN vs software VPN. would it be easy to upgrade the VPN to meet the needs of the company when they grow?
Personal VPNs are not an issue as it’s not an issue having multiple connections. But with a company, growth comes with increased connections. This means if you are using a hardware VPN, you would need more hardware VPN resources. Your other option would be to upgrade the device to a more powerful one but either way, it’s additional expenses.
Software VPNs don’t demand as much for scaling. Every subscription comes with several devices that can be connected and so for private use, you would be okay. A business would however need to make multiple subscriptions as it grows to cover for the growth and increased connections. Even with the additional subscriptions, it’s still cheaper than having to upgrade a hardware VPN.
7. Ease of Set-Up, Maintenance, And Updates
A hardware VPN is a physical device that would have to be bought and set up. So it needs to be handled by a team of those with the technical knowledge on how to install and maintain the device. On your own, you may face challenges as not all hardware VPNs have user-friendly interfaces. Others also require updates to be installed manually when available. Individuals would be faced with this challenge as hardware VPNs are not the easiest to install or maintain. Companies would however have their devices maintained by the IT team so it would function efficiently.
A software VPN doesn’t need to be ordered, shipped, and installed physically. All you need to do is download the file and install it on your device. Installation is easy and user friendly and so is the operation of the app. Updates for software VPNs are also automatic so it’s easy on different levels.
Why Use LimeVPN?
- LimeVPN provides you with up to 10 Gbps connection speed
- You get unlimited bandwidth without throttling
- There is a NAT firewall and hotspot protection. So you can connect to public Wi-Fi without fear of data theft
- Every data exchange that goes through the tunnel gets encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption
- There are 8 VPN protocols to choose from. They include IKEV2, OpenVPN, Softether. SOCKS5, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IPSec
- No logs are kept of your internet activity, ensuring your privacy is maintained
- 24/7 customer service support available
Also Read : What Does A VPN Hide?
Hardware VPN vs software VPN is a common comparison that every VPN user makes. Both are different types of VPNs that each have their pros and cons. So your choice of one over the other would depend on its use; private or for business. it also depends on the resources you have and are willing to spend in the running of the system.
While software VPN is cheaper, easy to use, and also maintain, hardware VPN allows for encrypted remote access. Both of them provide you with good speed so the choice is up to you.
If you need a good software VPN, LimeVPN is a great choice. They are a VPN service provider that takes your security and privacy as their priority. Other benefits such as speed and unlimited bandwidth to mention but a few are also part of the package.