An overview of virtual private network (VPN): IP VPN and optical VPN

Zhensheng Zhang*, Ya Qin Zhang, Xiaowen CHU, Bo Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, there has been rapid development and deployment of virtual private network (VPN) services. There are wide varieties of IP-based VPNs and optical VPNs (OVPNs) proposed in the literature and readers could easily get confused with so many different types of VPNs. The purpose of this paper is to present a comprehensive overview of the VPN and discuss the main issues associated with the design of IP VPN and OVPN. We first present a classification of the VPNs including CE-based, network based, customers provisioned, provider provisioned, connection oriented, connectionless oriented, port based, connection based, layer 1 VPN, layer 2 VPN, and layer 3 VPN, and describe different VPN protocols such as IPSec, ORE and MPLS. We then review the recent work on OVPN by different standard bodies, and outline the key requirements for OVPN service providers and customers. Finally, we describe several OVPN architectures appeared in the literature, highlight the future work in OVPN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalPhotonic Network Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Software
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • Internet
  • Optical networks
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN)


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