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What is a VPN Tunnel, and How Does it Work?

Last updated: March 18, 2024 12 min read
VPN Tunnel Work

The internet is filled with prying eyes who are ever-ready to steal and use your online data against you. These cyberattacks can turn your digital life into a living hell. Fortunately, using a VPN tunnel helps to protect you from these malicious attacks and ensures your online experience is more private and secure. Below, you can find how a VPN tunnel works and how to create one on your device.


A VPN tunnel (or a Virtual Private Network) is the encrypted pathway that connects your PC or mobile to the internet. It helps to hide your online activities, your IP address, and any data you generate while on the internet. This way, no third party, including your Internet Service Provider, can access your online information, as this tunnel is unbreakable without a cryptographic key.

If you are a privacy-conscious individual, using a VPN tunnel is the perfect choice for you as it helps to enhance your online privacy and security. So, let’s dive deeply into how this technology works, the different tunneling protocols you can use, and how to create one.

How Does VPN Tunneling Work?

Whenever you use ExtremeVPN to connect to the Internet, all your online data gets transferred from the Internet to your device through a process called tunneling.

Your online data that passes through the tunnel is divided into tiny pieces called packets. These packets are further protected in another data packet in an encapsulation process. This ensures that your data are tightly protected in different capsules, which will help ensure that no intruder can access them.


Apart from data protection, ExtremeVPN helps to hide your IP address from any third party, including the site you are browsing and your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Once you connect to the internet through a VPN tunnel, you get an IP address from ExtremeVPN that differs from your actual one. This means no one can detect what you are doing on the internet.

ExtremeVPN tunneling also helps to protect all your online activities, such as browsing, downloading, streaming, and chatting, from your government, your ISP, or any person monitoring your online activity. With the promise of a secured connection when using ExtremeVPN tunnel, you can now use public Wi-Fi without the fear of getting hacked or monitored.

ExtremeVPN Tunnel Hides Your Location


When browsing the internet, your IP address acts as your identity, exposing your location and ISP’s name to an interested party. By using the ExtremeVPN tunnel, your original IP address gets replaced with another one, which will help prevent snoopers from knowing your actual location. Any site you visit while connected to the tunnel will only see the location of the VPN server you are connected to.

This way, you can bypass any internet restriction placed on your location or the site you are visiting. You can now access any content or site of your choice, regardless of your location.

VPN Tunneling Protocols


ExtremeVPN supports various protocol types that can suit any of your needs. These tunneling protocol types vary in speed, security level, and encryption process, so you can select one depending on your internet needs. Although ExtremeVPN automatically chooses the optimal protocol for you to use whenever you connect to a server, you can still configure your VPN tunnel manually.

Some tunneling protocols that ExtremeVPN provides include OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, WireGuard, PPTP, and SSTP.

Types of VPN Tunneling Protocols

Below, you will find a detailed list of the different types of VPN tunneling protocols:


OpenVPN Protocol

OpenVPN is an open-source tunneling protocol that works with all operating systems, including Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and MacOS. Although this protocol type is highly customizable, it is recommended for advanced users as the setting up process is complex. Regardless of its setup process, OpenVPN provides users with a fast network speed and a private and secure network that can bypass most firewalls.

This tunneling protocol includes a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption protocol that keeps your online traffic private. You can download the OpenVPN source code, assess it, and modify it to suit your needs.

OpenVPN comes in two versions: UDP and TCP. ExtremeVPN allows its users to choose between UDP or TCP when using OpenVPN. UDP assures you of a fast network speed, while TCP is the best choice for a reliable/stable connection.


IKEv2 Protocol

IKEv2 is a tunneling protocol part of the IPSec protocol suite. It is a more stable option when compared to Open VPN. The IKEv2/IPSec protocol combines the security benefits provided by IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) and the speed of the IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Version two), which helps to enhance your browsing experience.

Although this protocol type is incompatible with some operating systems, it is perfect for your mobile device. With this protocol type, you don’t have to worry about network disruption due to its auto-reconnect feature.


IPsec Protocol

Just like IKEv2/IPSec, it combines the attributes of L2TP and IPSEC such that L2TP protects your online traffic, and IPSec takes care of all encryption processes.

L2TP/IPSec is an outdated protocol type with many vulnerabilities, making its security features questionable. But you can customize this protocol type and set it up quickly on your device.


PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is one of the earliest protocols developed. It assures users of fast network speed and convenience. If you are looking for a quick-use VPN tunnel, this is the best option, as it is compatible with all operating systems and very easy to set up and use.

PPTP Protocol

PPTP does not have encryption and authentication features, so your online data won’t be protected from prying eyes if you use this protocol. This means your online security cannot be 100% assured due to this protocol’s vulnerabilities and flaws.


SSTP Protocol

The Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is a popular VPN protocol developed by Microsoft. Although it only works on Windows OS, you can be assured of a secured and private network when you connect to it.

SSTP is relatively easy to set up and provides a secure and fast VPN connection. With this VPN tunnel, you can bypass firewalls, even the Great Firewall of China.


WireGuard Protocol

WireGuard protocol is unarguably the best tunneling protocol to use. It provides users with lightning-fast speed and a highly secured network connection. You don’t have to choose between speed or security using this protocol type, as you can have the best of both worlds.

Additionally, this open-source protocol is built with a lightweight code of only 4000 lines, making it easy to customize, audit, and debug. This also reduces the risk of vulnerabilities and flaws in the protocol.

Wireguard protocol also comes with a speed boost, making it unlikely for you to detect a network disruption when you are switching from a Wi-Fi connection to your mobile data or another Wi-Fi connection. This makes it the top choice if you use ExtremeVPN on your mobile phone.

Is a VPN the Same as a VPN Tunnel?

Stay Secure with the Best Encryption

A VPN is not the same as a VPN tunnel website. To understand the difference between VPN vs. VPN tunnel, it’s essential to know that while a VPN provides users with a secure and private connection with the internet, a VPN tunnel is the encrypted pathway in which your online data or data packets reach their destination.

How Do you Create a VPN tunnel?

VPN Illustration

The first step to creating a VPN tunnel is downloading our ExtremeVPN app on your device. Visit here and choose the app version compatible with your operating system. Once you download our app, set up your account and connect to a server.

You don’t need to set up a VPN tunnel, as ExtremeVPN automatically does it once you connect to a server. However, you can still choose your preferred protocol type manually.

If you use devices that do not support VPN functionality, you can configure ExtremeVPN on your router to protect your network.

VPN Tunnel Security – Can it be Hacked?

How Tunneling is Accomplished in a VPN – Here’s What to Know

Unfortunately, a VPN tunnel can be hacked, but it rarely happens. You don’t need to worry about this if you are a regular internet user, as these hackers usually target high-profit individuals or million-dollar companies.

If you are still curious about how a VPN tunnel security can be hacked, it can be done by breaking the encrypted data packets. As this is practically impossible, except there’s a known vulnerability, the only way to hack your tunnel is to steal your encryption key. Stealing your encryption key can be done in various ways, so using a trusted and reliable VPN service provider is essential to lessen the risk of getting hacked.

ExtremeVPN is designed with a 4096-bit DH (Diffie-Hellman) key cipher, which makes it difficult for hackers to get your encryption key and assures you of a highly secure VPN connection.

ExtremeVPN Tunnel Configuration

Why ExtremeVPN is the Best VPN for Expats in 2023

To start using ExtremeVPN tunnel, sign up for an account and download our VPN tunnel app for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, or routers, depending on your device. Once you complete your setup, you can connect to a server from one of the 6500+ servers available in 78+ countries to browse the internet securely and privately.

24/7 Customer Support

ExtremeVPN app is built with an appealing and user-friendly interface, making it easy to connect and disconnect to your VPN tunnel and perform tests to determine the perfect server location.

If you’re experiencing a VPN tunnel failure, you can always connect to ExtremeVPN 24/7 support to help with any issue.


VPN tunneling involves creating an encrypted connection that helps enhance users’ security and privacy on the internet. By connecting to a VPN, your internet traffic is transported through this secured tunnel, which makes your online experience free from hackers or prying eyes and allows you to stream content that may be restricted in your location.

ExtremeVPN tunneling is the top choice to free your device from all sorts of cyber attacks downloaded on your device. Set up your account and enjoy data protection whenever you connect to the internet.


Is VPN tunneling illegal? Up
VPN tunneling is entirely legal and can be used to protect your information and activities online. Note that performing illegal activities online is still illegal regardless of whether you use a VPN tunnel.
How can I know the tunneling protocol to use? Up
ExtremeVPN is built to support different tunneling protocol types. Choosing the right one depends on your specific needs, such as your desired security level, device, and network conditions. Understanding the different protocol types and what they offer can help you decide which one would be perfect for you.
What is split tunneling? Up
Split tunneling is an advanced feature on ExtremeVPN that allows you to divide your internet traffic by sending some through a secure VPN server and allowing the rest to travel directly to the internet. It allows you to connect to the internet using both a private network and a public network. This feature is useful when you don’t want a VPN tunnel to encrypt your traffic. In situations like this, you can use this feature to select which of your apps you want VPN-protected and the ones you don’t. For instance, you can use your local network without a VPN to stream video content online but use ExtremeVPN to check your bank account online using public Wi-Fi.
How can I test the ExtremeVPN tunnel? Up
You can test to check if your VPN tunnel is working to hide your online identity and protect your activities in various ways. One way to do this is to check your ping. To know if the tunnel is working, you must check your ping two times: when you connect to a VPN and when you don’t. Comparing the results from the two situations can help you tell if your VPN connection was successful. The ping received when you connect to the ExtremeVPN tunnel should be higher than the one you get when you disconnect from it.

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About the Author

Olivia is a cybersecurity enthusiast and passionate writer eager to teach everyone how to stay safe ...
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