What is NordLynx?

Last updated: December 1, 2020
NordVPN adds NordLynx, a WireGuard-based protocol to major platforms

NordLynx is NordVPN’s proprietary WireGuard-based tunneling protocol. WireGuard is a cutting-edge open-source VPN protocol, combining strong encryption and great performance. You can already compare NordVPN speed test results with other providers in our VPN speed monitoring tool.

NordVPN has launched its own implementation of WireGuard in April 2020 for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. The VPN provider has been teasing the inclusion of WireGuard for months. However, until NordLynx, VPN providers struggled to fix the inherent vulnerabilities of WireGuard.

This revolutionary tunneling protocol has significant benefits over OpenVPN and IPsec. Users of several other VPNs have already had the chance to test WireGuard out, but NordVPN was the first industry leader to implement it.

How does NordLynx work?

The developers of WireGuard aimed to create a piece of software that was easily-auditable. Unlike OpenVPN or IPsec, WireGuard manages to fulfill its purpose through as few as 4,000 lines of code. For comparison, IPsec has 400,000, while OpenVPN+OpenSSL have 600,000.

The lightweight nature of WireGuard makes it easy to implement and difficult to compromise. A single individual should be able to read the entire codebase of WireGuard and understand how it works in an evening. These are great characteristics that many VPN service providers have been striving to make part of their product.

NordLynx – an improvement over WireGuard

However, in its current state, WireGuard poses some challenges, one of which is ensuring complete privacy. As NordVPN mentions in its announcement, this protocol can’t dynamically assign IP addresses. Therefore, the server needs a local static IP address table to manage incoming and outgoing internet packets. As a result, the user’s IP has to be linked to the one assigned by the VPN.

NordLynx solves this issue by adding a double Network Address Translation (NAT) system to WireGuard, which creates two local network interfaces for each user. The first interface is used to assign a local IP address to all users connected to the server, which means that every user gets the same IP address.

Then, the second dynamic NAT system interface kicks in, providing a unique IP address for each user on the server and solving WireGuard’s vanilla privacy issue. With NordLynx, packets travel between users and their web destinations without getting mixed up in the process.

This effectively means that NordVPN has managed to marry WireGuard’s lightning speeds to the other protocols’ robust privacy protection capabilities, which might be a game-changer in the VPN industry.

NordLynx vs OpenVPN vs IKEv2 speed test

According to the announcement from NordVPN, NordLynx is faster than any other protocol available to subscribers. To prove this, the company made more than 250,000 speed tests, covering all main VPN use cases. NordVPN used the Mann–Whitney U test, the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, and other scientific methodologies to conduct this research.

The company has said that NordLynx can be twice as fast as any of the currently used protocols in some cases.

To give you some numbers, we also ran a simple speed test to demonstrate the performance gap between NordLynx and other popular protocols in OpenVPN and IKEv2. We did it from Europe, connecting to the NordVPN servers in the UK, taking five readings from SpeedTest.net with each protocol, and choosing the best one.

OpenVPN (UDP)

Download: 140 Mbps
Upload: 71 Mbps

NordVPN speed test using OpenVPN (UDP)

IKEv2/IPSec

Download: 160 Mbps
Upload: 103 Mbps

NordVPN speed test with IKEv2

NordLynx

Download: 252 Mbps
Upload: 130 Mbps

NordVPN speed test with NordLynx

As you can see from the data above, OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec speeds are quite similar. But when it comes to NordLynx, the performance gap becomes obvious. This tunneling protocol was 58% faster than IKEv2 and 80% faster than OpenVPN.

Once again, these numbers are just to illustrate the obvious advantage that NordLynx has over other tunneling protocols. As you can see from our VPN speed test tool results, it can outperform the competition by even a greater margin.

How to set up NordLynx

Setting up NordLynx is really easy. All you have to do is make sure you have the latest NordVPN client installed. Below you will find short guides for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Windows

  1. Make sure you’re using the latest NordVPN client version
  2. Open the client and click on Settings (cogwheel)
  3. From the left menu, select Auto-connect
  4. Turn off “Choose a VPN protocol and server automatically”
  5. Under “VPN protocol,” select NordLynx from the drop-down

How to set up NordLynx on Windows

Mac

  1. Make sure you’re running the latest NordVPN version
  2. Click Preferences at the top-left
  3. Under VPN Protocol, choose NordLynx

Set up NordLynx on Mac

Linux

  1. Make sure you have the latest NordVPN app for Linux
  2. Open the terminal and enter nordvpn set technology nordlynx
  3. Enter nordvpn c to connect to the VPN

Set up NordLynx on Linux

If you want to switch back to OpenVPN, enter nordvpn set technology openvpn.

Android

  1. Download the latest NordVPN Android app
  2. Tap the My Account & Settings cogwheel at the top-left
  3. Scroll down to Advanced and tap VPN protocol
  4. Change Use recommended to NordLynx

Setting up NordLynx on Android app

iOS

  1. Download the latest NordVPN app, if you haven’t already
  2. Tap the Settings icon at the top-right
  3. Tap VPN protocol and select NordLynx

Setting up NordLynx on iOS

FAQ

Is NordLynx secure?

NordLynx is the most secure tunneling protocol. It surpasses both OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec. While WireGuard had some issues with privacy, NordVPN patched them up before releasing NordLynx.

What is NordLynx tunnel?

NordLynx is a VPN tunneling protocol. Therefore, a NordLynx tunnel is a secure connection between the user and the VPN server. All traffic that goes through the tunnel is encrypted, so there’s virtually zero chance for third-parties to see what you do online.

How do you use NordLynx?

Using NordLynx is simple – you just have to select it as your tunneling protocol. Above you will find instruction on how to start using NordLynx on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

NordLynx does not connect – what to do?

You might experience connection issues from time to time. In such a case, try using a different protocol to see if the problem is in NordLynx. If NordVPN does not connect at all, contact their 24/7 live chat customer support. In most cases, they will be able to solve the issue in a few minutes.

How to disable Nordlynx?

You can disable NordLynx by selecting any other protocol available on your NordVPN app. You can do that the same way as you’ve chosen NordLynx in the first place. The instructions with screenshots are available above.

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2 comments
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  1. Uros

    With NordLynx traffic is still encrypted?


    1. Kevin Marlowe Author

      Hi Uros,

      Yes, NordLynx/WireGuard offers strong encryption ciphers. In that sense, it is absolutely no worse than OpenVPN.

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