Learning about the different aspects of how a VPN works will help you both with choosing a VPN in the first place as well as being able to troubleshoot it further down the line.

IKEv2 is an abbreviation that stands for Internet Key Exchange Version 2. IKEv2 VPN is a VPN protocol that was developed by Microsoft and Cisco with the sole aim of making automatic encryption of outgoing traffic and data easier. It utilizes 256-bit data encryption to guarantee stability in cases of switching networks or re-establishing a connection.

Unfortunately, not all VPNs support IKEv2, so this is something that you have to consider when choosing a VPN.

There are other VPN protocols including OpenVPN and IPSec, however, IKEv2 is regarded as the best VPN protocol especially for mobile users. This is because it reconnects automatically if you are ever disconnected from the internet.

What is the IKEv2 VPN protocol?

The Internet Key Exchange (IKE) is a tunneling protocol based off of IPSec for facilitating secure VPN connections. They define automatic means of negotiation and endorsement for IPSec security associations in a safe and protected manner. They introduced IKEv2 as the second version of the protocol in 2005.

Strong encryption

The IKEv2 protocol is very secure. It has been enhanced in protection from IPSec. IKEv2 utilizes very strong cryptographic algorithms and keys. The ciphers they use to create Phase1 keys are AES-256-GCM for the encryption, together with SHA2-384 to guarantee PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy) using 3072-bit Daffier Hellmann keys.

Platform integration

VPN has enhanced their integration with the Windows operating system and also third-party solutions to provide a robust platform for multiple advanced connection scenarios. IKEv2 is very important in this process because it has stabilized its MOBIKE usage and hence they can integrate and make the usage even easier.

Protocol security

The IKEv2 protocol has implemented innovative and more advanced security capabilities in order to limit the type of traffic that VPN connections allow. Especially when there’s a connection, most of the time a secure connection is necessary. IKEv2, with its encrypted connectivity, would assist the VPN users to ensure their connections are secured.

IKEv2 and IPSec provide users with an improved ability to reconnect when the internet connection is interrupted. This makes it a reliable and efficient means for users even when they experience hiccups during normal usage. For VPNs regardless of whether they support aDevice Tunnel, a consistent connection is ensured by using either user or device authentication.

Technical details

IKEv2 has become a widely popular VPN protocol because it supports Windows Server 2008, Windows 7+, Cisco routers, Blackberry, MacOS and iOS devices. Besides supporting these operating systems, it can also be used with devices running Linux. This means that it operates effectively on almost all mobile devices regardless of their operating system.

How does IKEv2 VPN work?

IKEv2 includes a MOBIKE technology, which supports its multi-purpose usage. It does not cause any inconvenience in regards to connectivity when transiting from WIFI to mobile internet. Neither its performance nor previous IP addresses get disrupted. It is listed as among the very few protocols that support Blackberry devices.

It has a high connection speed because it has a built-in NAT traversal.

The structure of IKEv2 is well thought out and built with just as much quality. It has an effective message exchange system that makes it possible for the protocol to perform better. It has a high connection speed because it has a built-in NAT traversal, which enables passing through firewalls and establishes the high-speed connection.

Pros and cons of IKEv2 VPN protocol

IKEv2 is faster than any other connections such as PPTP and L2TP.

It supports high graded encryption methods that enhance security. IKEv2 is very stable when changing networks and re-establishing a VPN connection when temporarily disconnected. It offers enhanced mobile support for most devices and it is also very easy to set up.

IKEv2 uses UDP port 500 which is capable of causing blockage from a number of firewalls.

They are not easy to implement at server-end mostly due to the strong encryption used and considering that their security services have integrated some core functions and developments inherited from IPSec.

How to install IKEv2 VPN protocol on Windows 7

  1. Start by right-clicking the network icon under the taskbar and select Open Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Choose “Set up a new network or connection” and click on “Next” or “Connect to a workplace”.
  3. Under “Connect to a workplace”, select “Use my Internet Connection (VPN)” and select your server of choice.
  4. Set the server address as Internet Address or choose a Destination name, then select “Do not connect now” and click “Next”.
  5. Enter your login details, select “Remember password” and click “Create”.
  6. Choose change adapter settings under “Open network and sharing center” and choose “Properties”.
  7. Under “Security”, select “IKEv2 VPN” and click “OK”.

Final thoughts

IKEv2 connectivity shares much in characteristics with a VPN, which means that when used together, they can produce better services. It is particularly beneficial to Blackberry device users but widely used by mobile users due to its numerous aforementioned advantages like automatic re-connectivity, user data confidentiality, authentication and integrity, etc.