Types of VPN Protocols


Virtual private network (VPN) protocols are a group of transmission control protocol/internet protocols (TCP/IPs) that enable the safe transfer of data over the Internet. A VPN is a network of computers that allows its users to connect to the Internet. A protocol is a set of standardized rules that determines error detection methods, data authentication, signaling and representation of data over a communications channel---the medium used for the transfer of data from the sender to the receiver. Its purpose is to ensure a reliable channel for the exchange of data.

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a networking protocol that is built on the Point-to-Point (PPP) protocol. PPTP provides remote, or long distance, access for a host of VPN solutions. The protocol allows remote users to access Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98 and the Windows NT operating systems securely. PPTP relies on the PPP for the authentication and encryption of data. Its main function is to ensure that data from one VPN computer, or node, to another is transmitted securely. The PPTP also supports VPN over public networks like the Internet.

Layer Two Forwarding Protocol

  • The Layer Two Forwarding protocol (L2F) is the Cisco Systems equivalent of the Microsoft-based PPTP protocol. It allows small networks and organizations to set up private VPNs that allow the safe transfer of data over the Internet. The purpose of the L2F is to allow data to be transmitted securely, from corporate websites to the end users. L2F, like the PPTP, relies on the PPP for data authentication and encryption.

Layer Two Tunneling Protocol

  • The Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), also called the virtual dial-up protocol, was developed as a joint effort between Microsoft and Cisco Systems. The L2TP supports VPNs over the Internet but relies on an external encryption protocol to provide confidentiality. L2TP allows Internet service providers to operate VPNs.

Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)

  • Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), is a group of protocols that secures IP communications by encrypting and authenticating each packet of IP data. It is used to protect the flow of data between servers and computer users, between firewalls and routers or between a host and a security gateway. The IPSec uses a host of protocols to perform key security functions. They include the Internet key exchange (IKE), Authentication Header (AH), and the Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP).

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