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VPN tunnel – a detailed overview

What it does, how it works, and what types of tunneling are available

What is a VPN tunnel?

A virtual private network serves the purpose of keeping your online activity anonymous. This is made possible by redirecting your traffic through a secure tunnel. The data that travels between your device and the internet inside this tunnel is encrypted in a way that makes it impossible for others to intercept.

Everything you do while using a VPN tunnel is 100% private. This means you can stop worrying about having your online preferences tracked, your search history logged, or your personal data stolen.

How does VPN tunneling work?

Now that we’ve established what a VPN tunnel is, it’s time to dig deeper and discover what goes on behind the curtains.

The process of hiding your online data is made possible through encapsulation and encryption. Metaphorically speaking, the encapsulation process is the same as adding an extra bubble wrap to a very sensitive item that you want to make sure arrives at its intended destination in one-piece.

While encapsulation shields your internet data packages, encryption is tasked with the job of keeping it concealed against prying eyes. Taking the same metaphor one step forward, encryption would make sure that the highly sensitive package you’re sending is impossible to open until it reaches its intended destination.

Different types of VPN tunnel protocols

Now that you get the gist of what a VPN tunnel is and what it does, it’s time to zoom in on the different types of VPN protocols available. CyberGhost VPN supports a variety of protocols. And while the app will automatically pick a configuration for you, if you’re someone who likes to take a more hands-on approach, you can configure your VPN tunnel by yourself.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is one of the most popular protocols for VPN security. Created by James Yonan, this protocol is open-sourced and available for anyone to inspect and access. As a result, any identified security flaws are immediately dealt with, making OpenVPN one of the best protocols in terms of security.

This protocol runs on either the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP) internet protocol. The difference between these 2, to put in layman’s terms, is that TCP guarantees the full transmission of data in the correct order at a lower speed.

At the same time, UDP transmits the data packages faster, but in doing so, it sacrifices reliability.

IKEv2

Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2) is the birthchild of Microsoft and Cisco. The goal of this protocol was to deliver a fast, reliable, and secure VPN connection. And indeed, it does. But stability is where IKEv2 truly shines. Since its primary use is for mobile devices, this protocol works miracles at reconnecting whenever a connection is dropped.

Imagine you’re switching from a WiFi to a data plan connection on your smartphone. With IKEv2 the VPN connection will remain stable throughout the entire process, without any drops.

WireGuard®

This fresh-out-of-the-oven protocol has quickly become the talk of the town thanks to its elite cryptography, top-notch speed, and ease of implementation that outperforms OpenVPN and IKEv2.

So, what’s not to like about it? Unfortunately, WireGuard® is still in its experimentation stage. This means VPN providers are still unaware of potential vulnerabilities and backdoors.

Layer to Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) / IPSec

Considered a replacement of a more vulnerable protocol (PPTP), L2TP does not use any encryption method whatsoever. For that reason, it is paired together with IPSec – so it can provide additional security for your data.

But how is L2TP superior to its PPTP predecessor? Well, it uses something called double encapsulation – the first one sets up a PPP connection to a remote host, while the second encapsulation contains IPSec. While this works wonders in terms of security, it reduces the speed at which your data travels.

Advanced VPN tunnel features

CyberGhost VPN users can enjoy the best-in-class technology all-around. We treat privacy and security as seriously as it gets, and we leave nothing to chance. Therefore, we’ve boosted our VPN tunnel effectiveness with the inclusion of an internet kill switch and the possibility of split tunneling.

A kill switch is a safety mechanism that automatically shuts down your whole internet connection if it detects any disconnection from your VPN server. In essence, if your VPN connection drops and your data and activity are at risk of being exposed, the kill switch takes matters into its own hands and cuts your whole internet connection.

The split tunneling feature is useful for accessing local network devices and, more importantly, for encrypting only certain data without slowing down your entire internet connection. To put it in layman’s terms, if you decide to enable this feature, you gain complete control over which data will go through a VPN encapsulation and encryption process and which is kept on the faster, unencrypted, open web.

Got questions?

Want to find out more about VPN tunneling? Check out our FAQ section below. Additionally, you can always get in touch with our Customer Support team. They’re available 24/7 via either live chat or email and can respond to your questions in English, French, German, or Romanian.

A virtual private network is an essential tool for making sure your personal data stays private. If you’re tired of having your online activity tracked and your online freedom neglected, you should definitely use a VPN connection.

Setting up a VPN connection to access the Internet is 100% percent legal. That being said, there are a few countries where using such software is prohibited by law. As long as you’re not living in one of these countries, you should rest easy.

We strongly recommend that you do – especially if your online activity involves transferring money, sharing sensitive information, and if you’re connected to an unsecured public network.

Faster speeds, less power usage, and a protocol interface that appeals to any user – these are the promises of this new protocol. You can find out the step-by-step instructions on how to use it by following this link if you’re a Windows user, this link if you’re using Linux, and this one for iOS.

Worry not, we have a step-by-step walkthrough of this too here. If you’re still having issues, don’t hesitate to contant us via email or live-chat.A

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  • OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard® protocols
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