What is a "tunnel"?

In computing a "tunnel" is where a remote service or computer, that would otherwise not be accessible, is made available to a local network.

The example that most people are familiar with is the Virtual Private Network or VPN.  This allows you to "tunnel" from you workplace network into another remote network via a secure tunnel. However a VPN is not always required and in fact may provide too much access to the remote network creating a security risk.

Let's say there is a web server running at a remote plant that I wish to access. I could use a VPN, but this is overkill and creates an unnecessary link between my local network and the remote one. If my laptop has a virus then I have now put my remote secure network at risk.  Instead I want to access ONLY the web server, not the entire network.  This is where the Ardexa TUNNEL feature can help.

The Ardexa TUNNEL is a "port-to-port" connection, meaning that the two networks are never directly connected, therefore, there is no chance of a virus slipping into your secure network. Any TCP-based protocol can be tunnelled and all remote access can be restricted by user, port and/or remote host (IP address).

Examples of supported protocols include:

  • HTTP (web)
  • HTTPS (secure web)
  • RDP (Windows Remote Desktop)
  • VNC
  • SSH
  • Modbus TCP
  • FTP
  • Telnet
  • OPC UA
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