What is a VPN Tunnel?
The VPN tunnel is a private pathway for data to pass through the internet from your device and other networks. A VPN tunnel is a secure and encrypted connection between your device and a VPN’s operating server. It’s unbreakable without any specific key, so neither hackers nor your ISP could gain access to the data.
When your device initiates a VPN connection, your network traffic passes through the secure tunnel. The data sent through the internet via a VPN tunnel is split and converted into “packets” (another data layer). By putting the data into packets, no third party can access it. Once the packet arrives at the destination, the outer layer of data is removed so it can access your data.
The VPN Tunnel also lets traffic go both ways, back again from the VPN server to your device, shielding the data inside the tunnel as it goes – and protecting it from anyone sneaking outside the network.
A VPN Tunnel Hides your Location
A tunnel VPN protects your data from being intercepted and hides your IP address. Instead of your location, the sites you visit will only show the location of the VPN server you are connected to. Otherwise, you could use it to identify you while browsing the web.
Thus, a tunnel VPN can help circumvent censorship imposed on your local network and censorship set by the local network of the site you are visiting. In most configurations, though, users in the same network will only see packets going from/to the VPN server, while the final destination will only see the VPN server’s address.
In other words, the VPN will hide where the packets go. Encryption also hides what you are sending, so it does not matter; after all, the same network probably has tens or hundreds of other users with similar IP addresses. Ditching the IP protocol ultimately would make you more suspicious.
Different Types of VPN Tunneling Protocols
A tunnel VPN protocol is open-source software that allows the anonymous sending and receiving of data between two networks. Some major VPN tunnelling protocols include WireGuard, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and SSTP.
OpenVPN is a customizable open-source VPN protocol available for various platforms. However, it is tricky to set up independently; OpenVPN is great for speed, security, and encryption. Significant operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux support the protocol. The private tunnel VPN protocol is considered the most efficient, along with the WireGuard protocol.
Another private tunnel VPN protocol available in the market is Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP). The protocol is super secure; however, the downside is It’s only available to Windows users.
One of the latest VPN tunnel protocols available for users is the IKev2 tunnelling protocol. IKev2 is excellent for mobile use on all platforms and is only available over UDP. The protocol is light and more stable compared to OpenVPN.
Layer 2 tunnelling protocol (L2TP) is a tunnelling protocol that does not provide strong encryption or authentication. Contrarily, Internet protocol security (IPsec) is a reliable and secure protocol that provides authentication and encryption for data packets. L2TP and IPsec are often used simultaneously when adopted by VPN software.
The Point-to-Point tunnelling protocol (PPTP) is one of the oldest protocols developed in the market. Due to its lack of encryption and authentication features, PPTP is relatively fast. However, it is unsafe, and third parties can see your online activity.
Split Tunneling Feature
When users connect their devices to a VPN, all their internet traffic is transferred to the VPN tunnel. The Split tunnelling feature allows some traffic outside the VPN tunnel. In essence, split tunnelling lets users’ devices connect to two networks simultaneously: private and public.
Value in the Digital World
Your ISP usually establishes your VPN connection when you connect to the internet. It tracks you via an IP address. Your network traffic is routed through your ISP’s servers, which can log and display your online activity.
Your ISP may seem trustworthy, but it might share your browsing history with the police, the government, advertisers, and other third parties. ISPs can also become victims of attacks by cyber criminals; If their systems are hacked, their personal and private data can be breached.
This is significantly important if you regularly use public Wi-Fi networks. You never know who might be tracking your online traffic and might steal sensitive information from you, including your passwords, personal data, payment information, or even your entire identity.
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A VPN Tunnel establishes a secure connection between your device and the internet. Thus, all your data traffic is routed through an encrypted virtual tunnel. This masks your IP address when you browse the web, making your location invisible to ISP or other spying eyes. A tunnel VPN is also secure against external attacks because only you can access the data in the virtual encrypted tunnel – and nobody else because they don’t have the key. A private VPN tunnel allows you to access regionally blocked content from anywhere in the world. Many streaming sites are not available in every country. However, you can still access them using the VPN.