How do hardware VPN's provide encryption?

I'm writing a paper on VPN's and i'm stuck trying to figure out how hardware VPNs provide encryption. I understand that a hardware VPN is basically just a dedicated device but with no software being run client side, how can the clients machine know what encryption type is being used let a lone the server encryption keys.

I've done a lot of searching on this but I can't seem to find the answer.

it generates a key and certificate and stores it client-side after authentication

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Thanks for the response!

So I'm assuming hardware VPNs use IPSEC/L2TP protocol?

I'm just having a hard time understanding the complete difference between hardware and software vpn. I understand that hardware is dedicated to being a VPN but in terms of how they function I'm getting really confused.

it depends on the specific hardware VPN used as to what protocol it uses and the preferences set for it to operate on (it does have firmware to control that)

it's the difference between having a DAC vs onboard sound on a motherboard... basically...

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Thanks so much for all your help! I have just one more question.

In my limited experience in dealing with VPNs (Only managing a small openvpn server for 5 users) I had to create keys and hand them out to all the users. You kind of touched on this earlier but exactly how are keys handled with a hardware vpn? Does it vary depending on the specific hardware vpn?

If you have two networks connected over vpn then clients on each of those networks don't need to know the encryption. The encryption is between the two vpn devices, the other devices in the network act normally.

If a client machine connects directly to a hardware Von server then it will need some sort of software to do so, usually the built in ipsec/l2tp client.

The two devices which are connected to each other via a vpn tunnel will need to know the encryption key, but other devices on the network which send traffic over the tunnel don't need to know anything about it.

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