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The technical specification for PPTP (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol) is RFC 2637. It is related to PPP (Point to Point Protocol), and most-readily recognized in VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections.
Wonder if that’s a record for the greatest number of acronym’s in a paragraph . Okay, I’ll limit the use of them going forward.
Before this protocol was developed and adopted, PPP protocols were used to establish secure data transmissions. The one glaring flaw of this was cost. In order to establish a secure transmission, PPP had to use a dedicated, private line; an additional, and expensive attribute of data communications.
With PPTP, secure connections can be made using the publicly-assessable Internet. This is what makes modern day VPN’s so popular; transmission cost was reduced to only that of an Internet connection.
Though dedicated, private lines are still in use today, it is in limited, highly secure environments.
As the term implies, PPTP uses a tunneling affect to keep data and resources of a private network, well, private. This quickly became a viable option, because it allowed employees to stay in touch with their company’s network. Companies also found it beneficial, as they could increase the use of telecommuting, another cost-saving adaptation.
Technically speaking, data is secured through a form of encryption, and delivered in a series of certain-sized packets. Once the data arrived at its intended destination, and the network recognizes the data, it is allowed in, unencrypted, spliced back together, and delivered to the user.
Early on, opponents of a VPN connection in general argued about the security of PPTP transmissions. Though there may be some truth to it, there are many options to thwart such vulnerabilities. One such secure implementation is establishing a dual-layer private network, utilizing DMZ (one final acronym for good measure).