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What is IKEv2 / IPsec VPN Protocol

What is IKEv2 / IPsec VPN Protocol


NordVPN uses IKEv2/IPsec as the default protocol in macOS and iOS apps. For our users, the protocol that keeps them safe behind the scenes is really important. But what is IKEv2/IPsec, and why does NordVPN support it?

What is a VPN protocol?

The VPN protocol is the system that establishes the secure connection between your device and the VPN server. This is done by first verifying the authenticity of the user’s device and VPN server, then generating an encryption key that both can use.

This system allows data to be encrypted and transmitted between the device and the server and then decrypted securely. No matter how good a VPN is, it can’t provide real security if you don’t use a strong protocol.

What is IKEv2?

IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2) is a VPN encryption protocol responsible for securing Internet traffic. It deals with the SA (security association) attribute within an authentication group called IPSec. NordVPN refers to this winning combination as IKEv2/IPSec or IKEv2 VPN.

Within this group, IKEv2 is the mechanism that generates the encryption keys, ensuring the secure flow of data between your device and the VPN server you are connected to.

How to setup IKEv2 VPN protocol

  • Download the NordVPN app.
  • Launch the NordVPN app.
  • Go to settings.
  • Choose the IKEv2 VPN protocol.
  • Enjoy a fast and secure VPN connection!

IKEv2 / IPsec VS OpenVPN

IKEv2/IPSec is one in a long line of protocols, each build expanding based on previous strengths. Where early options like Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP/IPsec) struggled to balance speed and security, its successor, OpenVPN, excels on both fronts.

OpenVPN is one of the best protocols available right now, which is why it plays an essential role in NordVPN applications. However, there are some points where IKEv2/IPSec surpasses even OpenVPN. This is largely thanks to its three specific features:

  • High transmission speed.
  • Enhanced stability.
  • Auto reconnect.

This modern protocol is faster and more stable than OpenVPN, and offers a groundbreaking auto-reconnect feature that improves security and ease of use. This means that it will automatically resume your VPN connection, even when your device switches from one internet source to another.

For technical minds, IKEv2/IPsec uses AES-256-GCM cipher for encryption, along with SHA2-384 for integration. This is combined with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), using 3072-bit Diffie Hellmann switches.

Advantages of IKEv2 / IPSec

  • Automatic redial: IKEv2 / IPsec provides an efficient reconnect function when your internet connection is lost.
  • Strong encryption: IKEv2 / IPSec is an advanced protocol that encrypts using high security encryption for maximum protection.
  • Supported across multiple devices: IKEv2/IPsec is supported across a variety of devices, including previously unsupported smartphones, connected home software, and a range of routers.
  • stability: IKEv2/IPsec offers improved stability, provides a strong connection, and allows users to switch between Internet connections without losing protection.
  • Speed: Where many protocols struggle to maintain a smooth Internet experience, IKEv2 / IPSec provides high-speed data transmission and makes browsing with a VPN a faster and more enjoyable experience.

IKEv2 vs IPSec: Differences

When looking for the best VPN protocols, it is tempting to set different options against each other. In fact, IKEv2 and IPSec perform better when combined, and they cannot be usefully compared. In fact, the IPSec authentication suite already uses IKEv2 within its protocol suite.

IPSec is a popular system for a reason: it is secure and reliable, and its operations are invisible to third parties. Likewise, IKEv2 is a great foundation for stability, fast data flow, and connection hop.

Given the strength of this privacy partnership, NordVPN uses the IKEv2 VPN protocol to offer the best of both features, so that users can enjoy a more secure and streamlined experience.

Protect yourself online with NordVPN. Try it now with our 30-Day Risk-Free Money Back Guarantee!

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