Virtual Private Network Protocols are the set of processes between a server and the client to make a stable and secure connection. Basically, a virtual private network protocol is a combination of encryption standards and transmission protocols.
Types of Virtual Private Networks
A VPN enables users to connect to a private network privately and securely over the internet. Virtual private network creates an encrypted connection called a VPN tunnel, and all internet traffic and communication is passed through this safe and secure tunnel. VPN creates a tunnel between a public network and a private network, allowing users to send and accept data as if they were directly connected to the private network. Virtual private networks have long been a popular option for users seeking more privacy in their everyday internet browsing, but the use of Virtual Private Networks in the business market has exploded in recent years. Here are the two basic types of VPNs.
1. Remote Access VPN
Remote Access virtual private network permits users to connect to a private network and remotely access all its services and resources. The relationship between the user and the private network occurs through the internet, and the connection is private and safe. Remote Access VPN is valid for both business users and home users.
2. Site-to-Site VPN
A site-to-site VPN is also called a router-to-router VPN and is used in big corporations. Businesses with branch offices in different locations use router-to-router virtual private networks to connect the network of one office location to the network at another office location.
What Are Virtual Private Network Protocols?
A virtual private network protocol determines how your information routes between your system and the VPN server. Protocols have different specifications, providing benefits to users in a broad range of circumstances. For instance, some prioritize speed while others focus on security and privacy.
Let’s have a look at the most common virtual private network protocols.
OpenVPN is an open-source connection protocol used to facilitate a safe and secure tunnel between two points in a network. This is one of the trusted technology used by various virtual private networks to ensure that any information send over the internet is encrypted and private.
OpenVPN is one of the most used types of open-source encryption technology. It uses a security protocol with SSL/TLS for key exchange, creating safe point-to-point or router-to-router connections. It can run over UDP or TCP tunnel transports. This makes your internet traffic indistinguishable from the traffic using standard HTTPS over SSL, and it is therefore tough to detect and block.
Features of OpenVPN
OpenVPN is one of the most well-liked VPN protocols due to its powerful features and ease of use. Here are the characteristics of the protocol:
- Extremely high security and configurable
- Uses 256-bit military-grade encryption
- Support for dynamic IP addresses
- Portability to most OS platforms through a third-party software
Virtual private networks tend to support the OpenVPN protocol since it is pretty streamlined and provides compelling benefits to both providers and users.
Pros of OpenVPN
- It uses a broad range of encryption algorithms
- Goes through firewalls
- Extremely safe and secure
- Highly configurable
Cons of OpenVPN
- Uses third-party software
- Support on mobile phones needs enhancements
- Needs technical knowledge to configure manually
PPTP is also known as Point-to-point tunneling protocol. It is one of the most frequent, easiest to set up and computationally fastest VPN protocols. PPTP is a collection of communication rules that oversee the safe implementation of VPN, allowing businesses to extend their own private networks over the public network via tunnels.
Using PPTP, big organizations with distributed offices can develop a local area network, essentially a virtual private network. It operates on TCP port 1723, one of the oldest VPN protocols in use, having been around since Windows 95 and standard on all versions of Windows. PPTP was developed by a Microsoft initiative to encapsulate another protocol called point-to-point protocol.
Features of PPTP
- PPTP protocol uses the GRE and TCP port 1723 for smooth data transmission
- Multiprotocol tunneling
- Fastest speed
- Easy implementation
- Ability to use corporate and unregistered IP addresses
Pros of PPTP
- It provides the fastest speed among all other VPN protocols.
- Any user with some knowledge can configure the PPTP protocol easily.
- PPTP is available on all the major and current operating systems.
- It provides default Windows compatibility.
Cons of PPTP
- It comes with RSA and RC4 algorithms, which use 128-bit encryption.
- It has some performance problems when you connect to an unsteady connection.
- PPTP is not ideal for users and businesses who need to keep their information secure.
- It does not provide support for perfect forward secrecy.
L2TP is a tunneling protocol used to support VPN or as a part of the delivery of services by internet service providers. L2TP is a replacement for the PPTP VPN protocol. It does not offer any encryption or privacy out-of-the-box and is frequently paired with security protocol IPSec. L2TP does not offer any encryption by itself. It entirely relies on an encryption protocol like IPSec that passes within the tunnel to provide safety and privacy.
IPSec is a protocol set for securing IP communications by authenticating and encrypting each of the IP packets of a communication session. It includes protocols for creating mutual authentication between agents at the start of the session and negotiating cryptographic keys to be used.
This protocol was first built in 1999 by both Microsoft and Cisco. It takes various features from Microsoft’s PPTP and Cisco’s Layer 2 Forwarding protocol and enhances them.
The information transmitted via the L2TP/IPSec protocol is usually authenticated twice. Each data packet transmitted via the tunnel includes L2TP headers. As a result, the information is demultiplexed by the server. The double authentication of the information slows down performance, but it does offer the highest security.
Features of L2TP/IPSec
- L2TP/IPSec provides secure connection support. It works with AES algorithms used for the most secure 256-bit military-grade encryption.
- It uses the UDP port 1701 for configuration, the UDP port 500 for key exchange, and the UDP port 4500 for NAT.
- L2TP/IPSec ranks among the safest protocols due to its highest level encryption and double encapsulation.
Pros of L2TP/IPSec
- L2TP provides a high level of security and encryption.
- It encapsulates the data twice, which means double data verification.
- L2TP/IPSec is available on not only desktop but also mobile operating systems.
- It is pretty easy to configure on all the OS it supports.
- L2TP also offers multithreading support for enhanced performance.
Cons of L2TP/IPSec
- L2TP/IPSec offers slow performance because of double encapsulation.
- It isn’t easy to configure on devices that run on NAT routers.
- L2TP/IPSec is rumored to be deliberately weakened by the NSA.
SSTP is also identified as Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol. It is a VPN protocol developed by Microsoft and is popular due to its complete integration with every Microsoft operating system since Windows Vista. Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol utilizes 2048-bit SSL/TLS certificates for authentication and 256-bit military-grade SSL keys for encryption.
It is designed to secure online information and traffic and is considered a safe and secure choice for Windows users than PPTP or L2TP/IPSec. SSTP works by establishing a safe connection between a VPN client and a VPN server. Basically, the protocol develops a secure tunnel between the server and the client, and all the information and internet traffic that passes through that tunnel is encrypted.
Features of SSTP
- Extremely fast speed
- It is a secure protocol that uses the same mechanism of information transmission as SSL does.
- SSTP provides the highest data encryption.
Pros of SSTP
- SSTP can bypass most firewalls.
- It provides the highest level of security that depends on the cipher, but it is usually more secure.
- SSTP is supported by Microsoft and integrated into Windows operating system.
Cons of SSTP
- SSTP is a Microsoft property which means no third party can audit it for vulnerabilities.
- It has a slow speed due to its high level of data encryption.
IKEv2 is a VPN encryption protocol that provides a safe and secure VPN communication channel and handles request and response actions. It defines automatic means of negotiation and authentication for IPSec security associations in a protected manner. IKEv2 ensures the internet traffic is safe and secure by establishing and handling the security association attribute within an authentication suite.
IKEv2 was first created in 1998, and the second IKEv2 came out seven years later. There are many differences between IKEv1 and IKEv2. It is responsible for establishing a safe and secure tunnel between the VPN client and the VPN server. IKEv2 does that by authenticating both the client and the server and then agreeing on which encryption methods will be used.
IKEv2 is the process of establishing security attributes between two network entities. IKEv2 does that by generating the same symmetric encryption key for both entities. It is used to encrypt and encrypt all the information that travels through the VPN tunnel.
IKEv2 supports 256-bit military-grade encryption and can use cipher like AES, Camellia, 3DES, and ChaCha20.
Its support is basically when a third-party VPN service provides access to IKEv2 connections through its service. Fortunately, more VPN services have started recognizing how essential this protocol is to mobile users, so you are more likely to find services that provide IKEv2 connections.
Features of IKEv2
- IKEv2 uses UDP port 500, which is perfect for network applications.
- It offers faster speed than L2TP and PPTP.
- High level of security
- Constant connection
- Control network traffic
- Perfect forward secrecy
Pros of IKEv2
- It is quite strong since it supports multiple high-end ciphers.
- Despite its excellent security standard, IKEv2 provides the highest online speeds.
- It can easily resist network changes due to its MOBIKE support and can automatically restore dropped connections.
- It is can easily be configured on all mobile devices.
- Setting up an IKEv2 connection is relatively straightforward.
Cons of IKEv2
- IKEv2 supports a limited number of devices.
- It does not provide as much cross-platform compatibility as PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP.
- Some firewalls can block IKEv2
Why use a VPN protocol?
If you do not need to be monitored, a virtual private network lets you transfer browsing data between your device and the server cutting out third parties. If you did not use this system, you would directly access the hosting server of whatever site you are visiting. This means you would have to rely on the safeguards in place of random sites hosts. IP addresses are visible this way, allowing third parties, hackers, and governments to see who you are and your location. A VPN protocol provides you anonymity. While every VPN protocol has specific qualities, all provide some level of protection against snoopers.
A virtual private network protocol is a set of rules used to negotiate a connection between the VPN server and the VPN client. Ideally, you should pick a VPN service that lets you select between multiple VPN protocols.