There are many ways to access a VPN and a variety of rules that it can follow to properly balance speed and security. Among the many options available is IKEv2. However, you may ask yourself, “What is IKEv2? What does that even mean?”

Fortunately, we’re here to help.

VPN Protocols

Before we get into what IKEv2 is, you should understand what a VPN protocol is.

Put simply, a VPN protocol is a list of rules for how a VPN will handle your data. When you send information over the Internet, it is broken into smaller pieces called “packets” and sent where it needs to go. Once there, the packets are rearranged into the original file so it can be used.

For example, OpenVPN is one of the most secure VPN protocols in existence. OpenVPN starts by sending a packet of data to the other computer. It then asks the other computer if the packet got there, and only sends another once that’s confirmed. This is a relatively slow process compared to other protocols, but it’s very safe.

If you want more speed with only slightly less security, though, you can go with IKEv2 instead.

What is IKEv2?

IKEv2 is a different VPN protocol. It doesn’t focus as much attention as OpenVPN on checking every bit of data during the transfer process.

Instead, when you’re using IKEv2, the first thing it will do is communicate with the VPN server. They agree to a set of rules and authenticate one another, then your computer sends a “checksum.”  This is a document to tell the receiving computer what packets to expect. It’s like a shipping manifest. 

Your computer sends the packets over rapidly without checking that each is received. When it’s done, it asks the receiving computer to check the packets against the checksum. That way it can resend any that are missing or corrupted.

What IKEv2 is really good at is balancing the need for security with the desire for speed. It uses high-level encryption, but saves time with a quicker method of data transmission.

How do I Use IKEv2?

If you’re a PrivadoVPN customer, it’s easy to choose this VPN protocol. Open the Settings screen in your PrivadoVPN app and select the “Protocol” tab. Then you just need to click the radio button for IKEv2.

This is the ideal VPN protocol for anything that requires fast downloads like gaming, streaming, or downloading large files.

On the other hand, if you’re doing things that require precision more than speed, like accessing a work database, sending confidential files, or transferring something that you want to ensure won’t be corrupted in transit, you’re better off with something like OpenVPN.

Now that you understand better what IKEv2 is, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on which VPN protocol best suits your needs.