The Challenges of VPN, VLAN, UPnP

As increasing number of companies are allowing their employees to either work remotely or use their own devices (BYOD) to work from. Consequently, corporate security has become a challenge for IT Administrators. If any security breach occurs due to one of their employees accessing corporate information over an unsecured network, it becomes a nightmare to deal with for the security, network and the IT Admins. In order to avoid dealing with this issue, most enterprises enforce a strict usage of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for their employees. If they want to access any corporate information, they have to tunnel through a VPN. This is a very secure option for IT Admins as it gives control and a way to manage the network security for employees who are working from a remote location.
However, this results in significant challenges to products that need to be integrated with an enterprise’s network. The developers who work on such products have to take many aspects and intricacies of a VPN into consideration and try to work around the issues that could potentially hinder the performance of the product. While doing so they have to make sure that they make the IT Admins’ life easier and not complicate their job as a result of adding the product to their environment. We at Ubiq have a first hand experience of dealing with VPNs and other network security tools and had to come up with solutions that are not invasive to the corporate environment. To be specific, we had to design our wireless presentation solution in a way that makes both the IT Admin’s and the end-user’s lives easier. Since our solution required users to connect to the Ubiq’s Hive to give a presentation. Any sort of VPN tunneling will prompt the end-user with a security notification that a change in network has occurred. This was an undesirable behaviour. When the entire premise of our solution is simplicity and hassle free. This was not an option for us. On top of this, there are numerous VPN solutions in the market and it was difficult to cater to all of them and make sure that our solution works out of the box. Keeping this in mind, we had to work out a solution that would work regardless of what VPN solution that was in place.
For this, we came up with a solution that used UPnP network discovery protocol which allowed end-users to stream over their corporate network if a Hive is connected to the network. In doing so, we didn’t have to deal with the corporate’s VPN and the IT Admin does not have to worry about dealing any support tickets due to the VPN security notification. UPnP is a fantastic protocol that gave us the flexibility and added performance. The only major issue we had to deal with was the corporate network having multiple subnets or VLANs for their wired and wireless networks. Which is an entirely different problem. Dealing with VPNs was a challenging problem which forced us to think about an alternative solution for corporate users.


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