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What's the future of VPN? A Chinese team has shared their views

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(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

In a bid to better cater to the new generation of apps that will be served over 5G networks, researchers from Huawei, China Mobile and China Telecom have proposed enhancements to the current VPN technology. 

To this end, their informational draft for the Traffic Engineering Architecture and Signalling (TEAS) working group, proposes an Enhanced VPN they’ve dubbed VPN+.  

The paper titled "Scalability Considerations for Enhanced VPN (VPN+)" argues how VPN+ could leverage 5G for better servicing demanding enterprise applications and services.

Rewriting VPN

The researchers say that VPN technology can essentially be broken down into two network layers. While the overlay is responsible for delivering the service, it is the task of the underlay to establish network connectivity and manage network resources.

The paper calls for the creation of what they are calling Virtual Transport Networks (VTNs). 

Each of these VTNs will have a subset of the underlay network topology. They’ll also be allotted enough network resources to meet the requirements of VPN+ services.

In essence, they propose to combine the existing VPN overlay together with the corresponding VTN in the underlay, to provide the enhanced VPN+ service.

Leveraging 5G

The bulk of the paper describes how its VTN underlay will scale to meet the increasing demands that come with the widespread use of the 5G network.

Furthermore, the researchers argue that scalability would become an important factor for deployment of VPN+. 

They then go on to describe the scalability considerations as well as some optimisation mechanisms that need to be implemented for such a deployment.

It’s good to see work being done to upscale existing technologies to more efficiently utilise the improved infrastructure promised by 5G. The paper however fails to comment on the security considerations of such a rejig of a well established standard.