L2TP/IPsec is a tunneling protocol used by VPN providers to offer encryption. Though it is very secure method, it is generally not the preferred protocol to use if OpenVPN is available. However, it can be widely used by almost anything that is connected to the internet, but may be easily blocked because it must use the UDP port. Because it is built in, it does not neccessarily require 3rd party software. In constrast, OpenVPN may use UDP or TCP ports, but has no native platform.
The name represents 2 protocols that work in conjunction with each other, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, and IPsecure. That is because L2TP has no encryption by nature, but it passes the data through the IPsec portion to provide security. It was originally proposed in 1999 by the internet society, and was designed to be the predecessor of 2 older protocols, those being Microsoft’s PPTP, and Cisco Systems’ L2F. Since then, there have been a few versions, including the most recent one called L2TPv3. Developed in 2005, that version offered increased security, and the ability to carry data via ethernet. In other words, it provided the building blocks that are used in encryption standards today.
As we mentioned, the L2TP protocol may be used without 3rd party software. Setup however, may be a bit tricky if you do not know exactly what you are doing. That said, we have several reccomendations if you are running a device that is a bit older. Until recently, mobile operating systems did not support the OpenVPN protocol, but our choices in the list above support OpenVPN as well as L2TP. Setup and operation is easy with their software, so once you install, you are on your way.
Let’s take a look at why you would want to use a VPN. Of course, the first reason is for security. Whether you decide to use L2TP/IPsec or OpenVPN, using one will provide you with a layer of protection. There are other standard protocols, but at this point, these two are the most secure. Even on an older device, you do not want to leave yourself unprotected, so using a VPN just makes sense. The last thing you need is to have your sensitive data compromised becuase you were not using a VPN.
The next reason to use a VPN is for it’s unblocking potential. Though L2TP/IPsec may be blocked in some cicumstances, it may not be blocked in others. A VPN will help you get around geo-restrictions. That is a technology that determines where you are located based on your IP address, and if you are not in the targeted area, you would be restricted from viewing that site . As an example, if you are a citizen of the UK and you travel abroad, watching familiar TV to you online would yield a message stating it was not available in your area. By choosing a server in the UK, the technology thinks you are there, and you would be able to view any content, just as if you were. The same could be said for anyone living outside of the UK, or any other country you wanted to connect to.
Lastly, if you are working from a location that is not where the office is, you would need to use a VPN. Some documents and programs may only be viewed or used on company servers. You would not have access to those items without using a VPN, because that allow you to connect remotely require them.
You should be able to see the benefits associated with using the L2TP/IPsec protocol, as well as VPNs in general. No matter if you need to protect your privacy on older device, or if you want to unblock content, a VPN will help you meet your goals. Going back to the providers we mentioned, all of them have good reputations, and are well known in the privacy space. We chose them based on the criteria of security, price, ease of use, speed, and server locations. We are confident that you will do well with any of the ones in the table. If you are using an older device or a newer one, you should not use them without using a VPN.