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

ikev2 vpn

What is the IKEv2 VPN?

The IKEv2 is a request-and-response encryption protocol developed by Cisco and Microsoft. It establishes as well as handles the Security Association (SA) attribute, which is used to support secure communication between two network entities. It does so in an authentication suite, usually the IPSec to ensure secure traffic. It is secure, stable, and easy to setup and also one of the speediest VPN protocols out there.

ikev2 vpn protocol

How Does IKEv2 Work?

The IKEv2 protocol lets the VPN devices at the two ends of the tunnel 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. 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 Does IKEv2 Work

IKEv1 vs IKEv2

Here are some key differences between IKEv1 and IKEv2 protocols:

IKEv1 vs IKEv2
  • The first version of Internet Key Exchange (IKEv1) was introduced in 1998. 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. which is appropriately spelled and stands for the Mobility and Multihoming Protocol. However, it implements the technology, which allows it to be used by many 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. This means that it uses two secret keys for increasing your security. IKEv1, on the other hand, uses Symmetric Authentication. A Symmetric Authentication 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. As such, it supports those apps where user-perceived latency is important.

Fast Speed

IKEv2 offers faster speeds than L2TP and PPTP. It has newer architecture and a more 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. It does so by ensuring the non-duplication of keys and session expire.

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 vs OpenVPN vs SSTP vs L2TP vs PPTP VPN Protocol Comparison

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 secure when used in conjunction with robust cipher and ephemeral 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 iOS Android (Manual) Mac OS X (Manual) BlackBerry (Manual) Windows OS iOS (Manual) Android Mac OS X (Manual) And More… Windows OS iOS (Not Supported) Android (Not Supported) MAC OS X 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 speed, but isn’t the best option for security

Pros and Cons of IKEv2


  • Highly secure protocol
  • Stable and reliable connection
  • Faster than most other protocols
  • MOBIKE support
  • Ideal for mobile devices


  • Supports a limited number of platforms
  • Can be blocked by some firewalls
  • Since it’s based on IPSec, it suffers from the same drawbacks (tampering by the NSA)

How to Setup IKEv2

IKEv2 Setup Guide on Ios

IKEv2 Setup Guide on Ios
  • 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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How to Setup IKEv2

IKEv2 Setup Guide on Windows

IKEv2 Setup Guide on Windows
  • 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!
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How to Select the Best VPN Protocol?

You have the option of using a different protocol for your VPN connection. You should take a look at our VPN comparison chart for a better understanding of what each brings to the table. Still uncertain? Try these VPN protocols in the following order:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is IKEv2 better than OpenVPN?

Whether IKEv2 is better than OpenVPN protocol depends on numerous factors. The most important factors are speed and security. Let me explain!

Speed: Due to MOBIKE support, IKEv2 is faster and more stable than the other VPN protocols. But OpenVPN has excessive speed with long range and high latency.

Security: IKEv2 is the newest VPN protocol which applies IPSec and uses 256-bit encryption. This is why, it is more secure. OpenVPN can be deliberated to become highly secure when used in combination with robust encryption and cryptographic keys.