IKEv2 VPN Protocol

IKEv2, also known as Internet Key Exchange version 2, is an advanced VPN protocol that provides a balance between security and speed. It is an ideal protocol for mobile devices.

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What is IKEv2?

The IKEv2 is a request-and-response encryption protocol that automatically establishes as well as handles Security Association (SA) attribute in an authentication suite, usually the IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) to ensure secure traffic. Jointly developed by Cisco and Microsoft, IKEv2 VPN protocol is highly secure, stable as well as easy to setup. It is also one of the speediest VPN protocols out there.

What is IKEv2?

How IKEv2 Works?

The IKEv2 protocol lets the VPN devices at the two ends of the tunnel to encrypt as well as decrypt the packets using either pre-shared keys, Extensible Authentication Protocols (EAP) or digital signatures. The encryption and decryption use the Asymmetric Authentication which means either ends of the tunnel do not need to mutually agree upon a single authentication method. The IKEv2 uses four different types of message exchanges (IKE_SA_INIT, IKE_AUTH, CREATE_CHILD_SA, and INFORMATIONAL) to establish IKE SA. The SA deals with different types of attributes including traffic encryption key and cryptographic algorithm, to name a few.

How IKEv2 protocol works?

IKEv1 vs IKEv2

Here are some key differences between IKEv1 and IKEv2 protocols:

  • The first version of Internet Key Exchange (IKEv1) was originally introduced in 1998, and the second version (IKEv2) came out in 2005 as an enhancement of the former.
  • IKEv2 consumes less bandwidth in comparison to IKEv1.
  • Unlike IKEv1, remote access is supported in IKEv2 by default as it uses EAP.
  • IKEv2 has built-in Network Address Translation- Traversal (NAT-T), whereas IKEv2 does not.
  • IKEv1 does not support MOBIKE, while IKEv2 implements the technology, allowing the protocol to be used by both multihomed and mobile users.
  • IKEv2 provides more security than IKEv1 because it uses separate keys for each side.
  • IKEv1 does not offer support for as many algorithms as IKEv2.
  • IKEv2 requires Asymmetric Authentication meaning it uses two secret keys for increasing your security. However, IKEv1 uses Symmetric Authentication, which requires only one secret key to cipher and decipher messages.

Key Features of IKEv2 VPN

Low Latency

IKEv2 uses UDP port 500 which is ideal for network applications where user perceived latency is important like gaming and VoIP communications.

Fast Speed

Offers relatively faster speeds than L2TP and PPTP courtesy of its newer architecture and effective response/ request message exchange scheme.


Certificate-based authentication ensures no actions are performed until the requester’s identity is determined.

Constant Connection

MOBIKE support allows you to keep the VPN connection active while you switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data.

Perfect Forward Secrecy

The PFS feature in IKEv2 assures complete secrecy and integrity of your data by ensuring the non-duplication of keys and session expiration.

Control Network Traffic

With MOBIKE, it is also possible for a multi-homed host to move traffic to another network interface if the one currently in use stops working.

IKEv2 VPN Protocol Comparison

IKEv2 vs OpenVPN vs SSTP vs L2TP vs PPTP

The following is an in-depth comparison of IKEv2 against other common VPN protocols.

Encryption 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Security Latest VPN protocol which implements IPSec and is highly secure OpenVPN can be considered extremely securewhen used in conjunction with robust cipher andephemeral keys Can be considered as secure as OpenVPN when used in conjunction with robust cipher and ephemeral keys IPSec over L2TP, when properly implemented, has no major known vulnerabilities PPTP implementation has several known security vulnerabilities
Stability Highly stable and consistent connection once established Stable Connection Stable, but more so on Windows Stable Connection Unstable and may disconnect frequently
Speed Faster than other VPN protocols due to MOBIIKE support, which makes it stable and resilient Great speed across long distances and on connections with high latency Faster than PPTP and L2TP L2TL/IPSec is still fast, despite tunneling overhead, due to high encryption/decryption efficiency. Fastest VPN protocol because of basic encryption
Supported OS Windows OS
Android (Manual)
Mac OS X (Manual)
BlackBerry (Manual)
Windows OS
iOS (Manual)
Mac OS X (Manual)
And More...
Windows OS
iOS (Not Supported)
Android (Not Supported)
And More...
Windows OS
iOS (Manual)
Android (Manual)
Mac OS X (Manual)
And More...
All Platforms (Manual)
Conclusion Fast speed, strong security, the only VPN protocol supported by Blackberry Good speed, strong security, native support for most OS. Safer and faster than PPTP and L2TP, ideal for Windows OS, can easily bypass firewalls Easy-to-setup, stable, and secure Highly recommended for bypassing geo- restrictions quickly, but isn’t the best option for security

PureVPN Offers Support for all major VPN protocols and platforms.

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Pros and Cons of IKEv2

IKEv2 VPN Advantages

  • Flexible at switching between WiFi and cellular networks and reconnecting after losing a connection.
  • Easy-to-setup on compatible platforms.
  • Very secure as it uses AES 256-bit encryption to make sure your data remains safe and sound.
  • Unlike other VPN protocols, it comes with support for Blackberry devices.
  • Great balance between security and speed for those who want to experience the best of both worlds.

IKEv2 VPN Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t have multiport feature.
  • Uses a single port (4500) which can be blocked, so it is not as good as OpenVPN when it comes to bypassing firewalls.
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How to Setup IKEv2

  • Subscribe to PureVPN
  • Download PureVPN iOS app for your device
  • Launch the app and select your desired mode
  • Enjoy secure and speedy IKEv2 VPN connection!
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For manual configuration on other preferred devices, Check out this guide.

  • Subscribe to PureVPN
  • Download PureVPN Windows app for your device
  • Launch the app and go to Settings
  • Select the IKEv2 Protocol
  • Enjoy secure and speedy IKEv2 VPN connection!
IKEv2 Windows
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For manual configuration on other preferred devices, Check out this guide.

How to Select the Best VPN Protocol?

Automatic Selection

As PureVPN offers support for a variety of VPN protocols, choosing the best one can prove to be a challenging task. To make things easier, we automatically select the VPN protocol most suitable for your circumstances. This feature is on by default, so connect and rest assured that you are protected by the most advanced technology.

Manual Selection

However, you can also configure your VPN connection to use a different protocol. You should take a look at our comparison chart of all VPN protocols for a clear understanding of each has to offer. If you are still unsure about which one to use, it is recommended that you try these VPN protocols in the following order:

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