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What is PPTP and how does it work?

What is PPTP?
Point to Point Tunneling Protocol which is usually known as PPTP was developed by Microsoft decades ago. It is one of the most popular VPN protocol available today that people use to access geo-restricted contents and to be anonymous on the internet. Let's see what is PPTP.

Microsoft developed this to route network traffic over unsecured networks like internet so enterprises can establish reliable networks by utilizing the publicly available infrastructure.

Why PPTP is so much popular among internet users?

There are many reasons why PPTP is one of the most popular and widely used VPN protocols nowadays. It was released in 1995 that means people have been using this for more than 20 years. It was the first VPN protocol supported by Windows Dial-up and every Microsoft Windows operating system developed and released after 1995 supports this protocol.

Other than Windows, some other operating systems like Linux and OS X started native support for this protocol in earlier days. Now almost every desktop and mobile platform supports PPTP. Configuring PPTP on a compatible platform is easier than any other protocol. PPTP has many different levels of VPN encryption and because of its low security it delivers high performance while streaming geo-restricted content.

How does PPTP work?

PPTP is based on authentication, encryption and PPP negotiation. This protocol encrypts data and puts it into packets by creating a tunnel that provides secured communication over LAN or WAN. Because of the encapsulation of that data, encryption and required authentication, it is safe to transmit that data even over public networks like internet. PPTP has two different types of tunneling methods which are used differently.

Initiated by the client this is also known as Voluntary Tunneling, and initiated by the server which is known as Compulsory Tunneling. Voluntary Tunneling does not require network devices like bridges, routers and even support from ISP. On the other hand, Compulsory Tunneling must be supported by routers and it is initiated by the server.

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Technical Details of PPTP

  • PPTP supports up to 128-bit session key encryption and this encryption is done by Point to Point Encryption Protocol which is also developed by Microsoft.
  • PPTP only needs user name, password and server address to establish a reliable connection with the server.
  • PPTP supports Windows (including XP, 7, 8, 10), Linux, Tomato, iOS, Android, Mac OS and many others.
  • It uses TCP port and GRE for port configuration.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of PPTP?

Like every other VPN protocol, PPTP has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should consider beforehand to get the best out of it.

Advantages

  • PPTP supports a wide range of desktop and mobile operating systems which is its biggest advantage.
  • PPTP is easy to configure and anyone with little technical knowledge or prior experience can configure it.
  • Because of low level of encryption, PPTP is one of the fastest VPN protocols and people prefer it while unblocking geo-restricted contents like Hulu, BBC and others.

Disadvantages

  • PPTP is a decades-old VPN protocol and it is not as secured as other protocols available today.
  • PPTP is not a good option for online security and maintaining online anonymity.
  • There are proof that authorities and government agencies like NSA have cracked this protocol.

Bottom Line

Now we know what is PPTP and that it is the most suitable option to access geo-restricted contents because of its performance. But it is not a good VPN protocol for online security, confidentiality and for maintaining online anonymity because of its low encryption.

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