A Virtual Private Network is a secure connection between a computer and a network, or between two LANs through the Internet or some other network structure that uses packets. Because the VPN link is protected by passwords, encryption, and packet authentication, it provides a way to create a direct tunnel between an isolated user and a distant home or corporate network, or between a portable computer and a wireless access point that is not accessible to network intruders or other unauthorized users.
To set up a link from your computer to a VPN host, use the New Connection Wizard in Start Settings Network Connections, and choose the Virtual Private Network connection option. If you connect to the Internet through one or more firewalls or routers, remember to change the Port Forwarding settings.
After you have set up the link, you can connect through a VPN from the Network Connections window; if you use the link frequently, you can save a few mouse clicks by creating a desktop shortcut to the VPN network profile.