Does VPN protocol matter?

Yes, it does!

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is popular because it is very easy to configure and it was the first VPN protocol that was supported by Microsoft Dial-up Networking.   It has marched forward through time and is supported by iOS and Android.   It is included with micro installations of DD-WRT.

The problem is that PPTP protocol does not guarantee confidentiality or encryption. It relies on the protocol being tunneled to provide privacy, which may be weak.   PPTP support is being added by VPN providers due to its ease of implementation with mobile devices.

OpenVPN is a free and open source virtual private network (VPN) program for creating point-to-point or server-to-multiclient encrypted tunnels between host computers.  OpenVPN uses the OpenSSL library to provide encryption of both the data and control channels. It lets OpenSSL do all the encryption and authentication work, allowing OpenVPN to use all the ciphers available in the OpenSSL package.

It is the most secure choice, but also the hardest to implement.   It is supported by DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato, though ensure your build has OpenVPN included if it isn’t a full or Mega build.   OpenVPN is widely supported by VPN providers.

IPsec/L2TP is another protocol that is gaining acceptance.   Its on the same level of difficulty to set up as OpenVPN though may fail if a user attempts to pass it through an older router that isn’t pre-configured to support it.   Its more secure than PPTP and is supported by some mobile devices.  It is however not supported by any third party, open source firmware at this time (though it could be added in the future).   Likewise some VPN providers support it in addition to OpenVPN, but this is not necessary widespread.

OpenVPN is the clear winner.   Using VPN provider software it can easily be implemented in Windows or Mac OS.   It is very difficult or impossible to implement on mobile devices.   This is one of the many benefits of implementing OpenVPN on your router to allow all your computers and devices to connect to the Internet securely and safely.


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