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Hardware VPN vs Software VPN

Hardware VPN vs Software VPN

Choosing a VPN for your home or office devices can be overwhelming. Do you really need one? If so, what is the best VPN to buy? Many people spend little time researching on VPNs. They select the most accessible Virtual Private Network and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, VPNs aren’t created equal. Some VPNs provide more benefits than others. To explain, here’s an overview of hardware vs software VPNs.

 

What is a Hardware VPN?

Hardware VPN is a type of Virtual Private Network that works through a standalone device located in your home or office. Setting up hardware VPNs is pretty expensive, which is why these tools are mainly used by businesses. However, they come with a set of unique benefits:

  • Dedicated IP addresses
  • Helps secure the entire office through one device
  • Lets you access office network remotely and securely
  • Helps take the load off your computer

 

What is a Software VPN?

Software VPN is a security tool that helps you receive VPN services through a remote server. All you need is a computer or mobile device to install the software required to help you select server locations, connection types and access your account.

Many devices come with inbuilt VPN clients these days. However, they don’t come with the many features you get from third-party providers. For example, you don’t get exclusive servers to torrent, dedicated IP addresses, unlocking entertainment websites and the benefit of securing multiple devices.

The best VPN clients aren’t free, though. You can get a VPN free trial to unblock Netflix, torrent or browse anonymously for a few days. But if you want to keep getting these services, the best solution is to purchase a monthly, annual or bi-annual plan.

With that in mind, here are some of the benefits of choosing a software to hardware VPN:

  • Cheaper than hardware VPN
  • Secure your connections wherever you go
  • Unblock websites and apps through hundreds of servers
  • Quick and easy to deploy a software VPN
  • You can secure devices in different locations

 

Hardware VPN vs Software VPN: What’s Best for you?

Hardware and software VPNs are two ways of solving your Virtual Private Networks. That means they can both do the job effectively. But which option is best suited for you?

 

 

Security

The main purpose of acquire a VPN is to secure your connections. Fortunately, both hardware and software VPNs are equally good at the job. They can mask your computer’s IP address, encrypt your data and help you access remote files securely.

Still, to be clear, the efficacy of either VPN depends how a VPN client is setup and maintained. If there’s a vulnerability in a software VPN, your home or office’s security can be breached. Likewise, your hardware VPN could also be exposed if you don’t update patches timely.

When you think about it, software VPNs work better in today’s world of remote working. You can install a software VPN in the office, at home or while abroad. And in doing so, they ensure you’re secured no matter where you are.

Winner: Software VPNs

 

Computer Load

In the past, one of the biggest arguments against software VPNs was that they impacted your compute’s CPU power. They would slow down devices and thereby affect their performances. Those days are gone. Today’s VPNs use so little power that you can barely notice their impact.

What’s more, they can work on smartphones, laptops, TVs, and through browser extensions, which goes to show they don’t use much power. Of course, hardware VPNs don’t use any power in your computers, which means they have a negligible advantage.

Winner: Hardware VPNs

 

Geo-blocking

Over 50% of VPN owners use these security tools to unblock entertainment websites. If you also want a VPN for similar reasons, your best bet lies at software VPNs. They have up to 5000 servers in 200+ countries. That means you can use an IP address located in any corner of the world and unblock websites like Netflix US, Facebook and Telegram in any city or country.

Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about hardware VPNs. If you install one client in your office, that’s where the server will be located. As such, you can’t use your hardware VPN to unblock websites located outside of your country.

Winner: Software VPNs

 

Remote Access

Hardware VPNs excel at this but there’s one problem. Your office needs knowledgeable staff to help employees access remote files through a hardware VPN. By comparison, software VPNs are great at remote access mainly when you can use static IP addresses.

The problem is that many software VPNs change your IP address regularly. This can complicate the remote access because you have to keep providing a new IP address. Also, it can raise alarms at the office is multiple IP address keeps trying to access office files remotely.

Winner: Hardware VPNs

 

Speed

There was a time when hardware VPN held the bragging rights for speed. That was back when many computers had low processing speeds. But in this era of powerful computers and smartphones, software VPNs are pretty fast.

In fact, software VPNs are so fast that it doesn’t make sense to choose a hardware VPN due to speed concerns. Sure, they are fast too. But when you think about all the other benefits of a software VPN, they make much more sense.

Winner: Hardware VPNs

 

Setup, Deployment and Maintenance

Software VPNs are much easier to setup, deploy and maintain than their hardware counterparts. For a personal computer, setting up a VPN client takes less than 20 minutes. In the office, this could take a couple of hours.

By comparison, hardware VPNs take hours to setup, and usually this process must be done by IT experts. When it comes to maintenance, you’ll need the services of IT experts once more. This can be time consuming and expensive.

Winner: Software VPNs

 

Conclusion

There was a time when hardware VPNs were the true winner in a comparison between software VPNs. These days, it all depends on what you want in a VPN. If you need holistic security at the office, a hardware VPN will be a good solution. But if you want to save on cost, benefit from unblocking websites and torrenting, software VPNs are the way to go.

About Author

Regina Falange

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