Just as highways and railways move traffic across the country, the online world has its own traffic systems too. But your data can encounter various dangers in transit, so a “tunnel” can add a layer of protection. VPN protocols are like tunnels guiding your data safely to its destination. So what is Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (or L2TP) and how does it relate to VPN services?
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (or L2TP) is a tunneling protocol used by both VPNs and internet service providers (ISPs). It doesn’t encrypt your content but simply creates a connection between you and a VPN server.
Due to its lack of encryption and authentication, Layer 2 Protocol is usually paired with IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) protocol, which provides the encryption and controls packets within the tunnel. IPsec encrypts L2TP packets between the endpoints.
L2TP is almost 12 years old and is a bit outdated. It is now less frequently used. For example, NordVPN no longer supports it.
Here are some of the uses of L2TP:
When comparing L2TP to Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), also conceived in 1999, L2TP is certainly more secure and reliable. L2TP was created as an extension to PPTP. The latter is used to tunnel dialup traffic. It has weak encryption and lots of security vulnerabilities.
As is the case with L2TP, the NSA has likely compromised PPTP as well and can supposedly decrypt it. Firewalls can also easily block PPTP, and it has poor P2P support.
While these protocols were one of the forerunners of what we have now, we advise you to choose services which support modern protocols like OpenVPN or Wireguard. These are safer and much more reliable. NordVPN has its own version of OpenVPN, as well as the WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol, which offers unrivaled speeds.
Upgrade your security and protect yourself online today.