IKEv2 IPsec Protocols Explained: What It Is and Why You Need It
VPN protocols are responsible for the most crucial aspects of your VPN connection, including its stability, speed, security, and encryption. Today, quite a few tunneling protocols meet the highest standards, being both reliable and fast. One of those unique solutions is IKEv2/IPsec. If you want to learn more about the benefits of this protocol and compare it to its main alternatives, read this article, as we’re about to tell everything you need to know about IKEv2/IPsec in the plainest language possible.
What is the IKEv2/IPsec protocol?
First of all, let’s provide a definition of IKEv2/IPsec and reveal the main characteristics of its core components.
As with any other VPN protocol, IKEv2/IPsec, also known as IKEv2 VPN, is a set of rules defining the way your data travels from your device to a remote server through an encrypted VPN tunnel. It combines two key components – Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) and Internet Protocol Security (IPsec). But what exactly are they, and how do they work together?
What is IKEv2?
IKEv2 is a new, more powerful version of IKE – a security protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco back in 1998. The upgraded version of this original protocol is famous for its connection speed and reliability. In particular, IKEv2 covers authentication and negotiation tasks when moving data through a VPN tunnel. However, to ensure a safe and fast journey of your traffic, major VPN services like VeePN combine IKEv2 with another solution – IPsec.
What is IPsec?
IPsec is a data-transporting tunnel that establishes a secure data transmission to a VPN server. That is why IKEv2 needs IPsec – thanks to this combination, the connection is both fast and well-protected.
So in the IKEv2 vs. IPsec dispute, there is no winner. These technologies are the most efficient when combined. IKEv2 handles your data security, while IPsec is responsible for its movement through the encrypted tunnel.
Further in this article, we will consider IKEv2/IPsec as a single VPN protocol. Now, let’s take a closer look at how this solution works.
How does IKEv2/IPsec work?
As mentioned above, IKEv2 and IPsec are responsible for creating a secure tunnel and moving your data through it, encrypting and decrypting it along the way. Here is how this process works.
- IKEv2 gets access to data storage and uses several data packets to establish a secure connection with the server.
- Once data (including IPs, security regulations, and ports) is collected, IKEv2 sends it to IPsec, which operates in a deeper system layer called the kernel.
- IPsec adopts the security regulations provided by IKEv2 to encrypt your traffic and deliver it to the destination server (website or app you want to visit).
That may look like a complex and multi-level process (and it is, indeed). But all those phases take seconds to process your request and securely route your data while ensuring no one can compromise it.
Now it’s time to take a closer look at the most significant advantages of this VPN protocol.
Main benefits of IKEv2/IPsec
- Advanced encryption and security. IKEv2 protocol ensures top-tier security since it supports the most powerful VPN encryption standards to date, including AES-256. This type of encryption hides your data from the prying eyes of hackers, snoopers, and other nosy third parties by turning any text you type while surfing the web into gibberish nobody can read.
- Automatic reconnection. One of the main specifics that make IKEv2/IPsec stand out from other VPN protocols is its ability to automatically reconnect if your VPN connection suddenly fails.
- Enhanced connection speed. Many secure and powerful VPN protocols have a significant downside – it takes too long for them to encrypt and decrypt your data while it’s moving to the required destination. However, this is not the case for IKEv2/IPsec. Thanks to the winning combination of a data management protocol and a secure tunnel for reliable data transition, it takes less time to run your traffic. So with this protocol, you will hardly notice any slowdown in your Internet connection speed.
- High-level stability. IKEv2/IPsec is a very stable VPN protocol. It provides reliable protection even when switching between networks or changing your Wi-Fi connection to mobile data.
- Compatibility with different devices and operating systems. IKEv2/IPsec is compatible with almost any type of device, including various models of smartphones, smart home systems, and Wi-Fi routers. Moreover, due to its robust stability and speed, IKEv2/IPsec is considered the best VPN protocol for smartphones – no wonder it’s the default protocol of the iOS operating system.
At this point, you might be wondering why you may ever need to use any other VPN protocol. After all, the capabilities of IKEv2/IPsec are quite impressive, but most reputable service providers, including VeePN, still offer several protocols to choose from. So let’s compare IKEv2/IPsec with its main alternatives – OpenVPN and WireGuard®.
Is IKEv2/IPsec better than other VPN protocols?
OpenVPN is one of the most common VPN protocols to date. It’s based on two core tunneling protocols – TCP (transmission control protocol) and UDP (user datagram protocol) empowered with AES-256 encryption.
Both IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN are highly secure and efficient VPN protocols. However, it’s important to note that IKEv2/IPsec is much faster than OpenVPN. Moreover, OpenVPN doesn’t provide the auto-reconnect feature offered by IKEv2/IPsec. In turn, OpenVPN is compatible with even more devices and operating systems than IKEv2/IPsec, which is the most efficient on smartphones.
As for WireGuard®, it’s the most modern technology on the list. It’s also the fastest VPN protocol, which makes it more suitable for traffic-intensive online activities, such as gaming and streaming media. However, unlike IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard® doesn’t ensure ultimate online security. That’s because this protocol is still a relatively new solution. So if Internet privacy and security are your main priorities, IKEv2 and IPsec tend to be more reliable options.
Now, let’s compare these three protocols based on the most critical parameters determining their efficiency for different use cases.
|Security||Very high||Very high||High|
|Stability||Very high||High||Very high|
|Speed||Very fast||Fast||Very fast|
|The best use cases||Switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data;|
|Protecting sensitive data;Overcoming Internet censorship||Online gaming;Streaming media|
To conclude, all three VPN protocols may perfectly suit your needs. However, considering the combination of speed, security, and stability, IKEv2/IPsec slightly outperforms OpenVPN and WireGuard®.
Luckily, if you have the VeePN app on your device, you can set up IKEv2/IPsec in a few simple steps.
How to configure IKEv2/IPsec VPN protocol
- Choose the most suitable pricing plan and sign up for VeePN
- Download and install a VeePN app for your device. Our service supports all major operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux
- Open your VeePN app and head to the Settings section
- In the Choose preferred protocol drop-down window, select IKEv2. The other available options are OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, WireGuard®, and the Shadowsocks proxy.
- After choosing the desired VPN server location, turn your VPN on.
- You’re all set – now you can benefit from a fast, secure, and stable VPN connection.
Choose the best VPN protocol for your needs with VeePN
Looking for a credible VPN service that provides access to IKEv2/IPsec and other modern protocols? Try VeePN! It’s a powerful online privacy and security solution, allowing you to opt for any of the three top-rated VPN protocols. Besides, it ensures top-tier data protection thanks to AES-256 encryption and essential features, such as NetGuard, Kill Switch, and Double VPN. With VeePN, you can protect your sensitive data and defend yourself from various cyber threats – all without compromising your Internet connection speed.
Try VeePN today and take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee!
What is a VPN protocol?
A VPN protocol is a set of rules that define how your data moves between your device and the VPN server you’re connected to. In particular, protocols form the encrypted tunnel and decide which security measures will be the most efficient to protect your traffic. Some of the most effective and powerful VPN protocols available with VeePN are IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and WireGuard®.
Is IKEv2 better than OpenVPN?
IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN are both secure and reliable protocols offered by the most reputable VPN service providers. However, each of them has some specifics and benefits to consider. IKEv2/IPsec is faster and more stable than OpenVPN. On the other hand, OpenVPN has some extra security features making it the most effective against firewalls and other online censorship techniques. Learn more in this article.
Which is better, IKEv2 or IPsec?
It’s difficult to compare IKEv2 and IPsec since they are two key components of a single VPN protocol – IKEv2/IPsec. Working together, they deal with different tasks to ensure a stable, secure, and fast VPN connection. IKEv2 handles the protection of your traffic, while IPsec is responsible for moving it through the tunnel quickly and without interruption. For more details, read this article.
What is the difference between IKEv2/IPSec and L2TP?
IKEv2/IPsec and L2TP are VPN protocols with different capabilities. IKEv2/IPsec is a powerful protocol that ensures top-notch encryption, security, stability, and speed of your connection. In turn, L2TP is another protocol empowered with IPsec. The difference is that L2TP/IPsec is much slower since it encapsulates your data twice while running it through the tunnel. Another downside of L2TP is its inefficiency against firewalls.