Released in 2009, Windows 7 proved to be an immediate hit. Amazon registered pre-order sales of Windows 7 as being the highest grossing in its entire history!
Since its release, Windows has sold more than 630 million Windows 7 licenses. This unprecedented popularity of Windows 7 showed that the computer industry is on an increase across the globe. The penetration of the internet and computing systems is increasing by every hour, and Windows 7 has been leading the charge.
However, there is a problem attached with this trend!
The growing instances of cyber attacks and cybercrime have resulted in ordinary internet users and businesses losing valuable identity information, financial data, and their internet activities monitored by hackers around the world. Due to the popularity of the Windows 7, majority of hacking attempts are against PCs running Windows 7 OS.
So, how to ensure protection of a Windows 7 PC?
The best line of defense for an ordinary internet user is to use a VPN connection from a good VPN service provider. A VPN connection ensures complete privacy, security, and anonymity for a VPN user. A VPN accomplishes this important task by establishing a secure tunnel between a VPN user and VPN servers for safe data transfer.
However, there are many data protocols available for establishing a data tunnel. The correct choice will ensure secure data transfer while the wrong one will only give you a false sense of security.
So what is the best data tunneling protocol for a Windows 7 VPN?
There are 4 different types of data tunneling protocols available. These are:
- PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol
- L2TP IPSec or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with Internet Protocol Security
- SSTP or Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol
- IKEv2 or Internet Key Exchange Version 2
Windows 7 supports compatibility with all of the aforementioned 4 data tunneling protocols but the best protocol is the one that offers the safest data tunnel with seamless VPN connectivity.
So let’s go on evaluating each protocol and rank them according to the last-place-first rule.
Position # 4: PPTP – The first to lose the battle is the PPTP. Being the oldest tunneling protocol out of the bunch, PPTP is widely known to have considerable security loopholes that can be exploited by skilled and experienced hackers. Although PPTP is still extensively used, it is the least secure protocol of the bunch here and that is why it deserves the last spot on this list.
Position # 3: L2TP IPSEC – The next to go is the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. The L2TP is a successor to the PPTP with the added support of Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) by Cisco Systems. Moreover, the L2TP protocol utilizes the L2F or Layer 2 Forwarding capability developed by Cisco Systems. While all this technology ensures a secure method of data tunneling, it does pose problems while passing through firewalls, NAT devices, and proxy servers. Moreover, L2TP requires a pre-shared key for authentication and this key cannot be absolutely secure.
Position # 2: SSTP – The successor to the L2TP is the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol. The SSTP addresses the problems of the L2TP by utilizing the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol over a Secure Socket Layer. The use of HTTP on top of SSL results in a hybrid protocol that is commonly known as HTTPS. HTTPS technology integrates easily with firewall to ensure seamless operation of SSTP.
Position # 1: IKEv2 – This is the latest data tunneling protocol compatible with Windows 7. The Internet Key Exchange Version 2 employs a wide variety of protocols to tunnel user data like:
- Internet Protocol Security Tunnel Mode
- Internet Protocol Security Key Negotiation
- Encapsulating Security Payload
- Mobility and Multi-Homing Protocol
- Mobility Manager
Apart from offering the most secure data tunneling and the most seamless VPN connection, the IKEv2 offers a unique benefit called IP Persistence. IP Persistence works by maintaining a VPN connection for the short period of time internet services drop or get disconnected and then get reconnected again. By holding on to the existing IP address, IP Persistence ensures that the VPN connection does not have to go through the entire process of establishing a VPN connection again.
All these multitude of features providing utmost security, connection speed, and connection fidelity make IKEv2 the best data tunneling protocol to be used on a computer running Windows 7 operating system.
So there it is everyone. IKEv2 is the most comprehensive data tunneling protocol that one can use on a Windows 7 PC. In case IKEv2 cannot be used for some reason, the second choice for a VPN user should be SSTP as it also offers excellent security and seamless connectivity.
Now all you need to ensure is to get a good VPN connection!
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