How Does a VPN Tunnel Work?

2 min

Understanding how a VPN works can help you use your VPN software effectively. Knowing the ins and outs of its workings, the protocols and processes that govern its functioning, and its various applications can help you stay better protected online. While we have discussed these on the TuxlerVPN blog before, we haven’t specifically touched upon the operation of a VPN tunnel.

So, today let’s dive into how VPN tunnels work and how, along with encryption, it makes you nearly anonymous online.

What is a VPN Tunnel?

A tunnel is a figurative term used to describe the secured network created by virtual private network (VPN) software. Since it’s a smaller network within the larger one (the internet), it behaves like a tunnel that is not accessible to anyone outside that network.

A VPN tunnel assumedly gets its name from the real-life passages that are constructed to extend roadways. 

How a VPN Tunnel Works

Once you switch on a VPN, it immediately starts routing your connection through a distant server. This assigns your connection a fresh IP address that belongs to that server, effectively hiding yours. If you’ve ever wondered how a VPN hides your IP address, this is how. 

That is not all. If your VPN offers encryption, your connection is first encrypted before it is routed through a server. These actions together make you nearly anonymous online.

If anyone manages to intercept your connection, the following will happen:

  • They will not know your original IP address, and therefore, your location
  • They will not be able to access your traffic thanks to encryption

Therefore, VPN tunneling capability is the most important element of VPN software. How effectively your VPN encrypts and routes your connection is paramount to your safety online. As we’ve noted before, software-level features in a VPN are secondary.

That brings us to another question: what influences VPN tunneling?

Factors That Influence a VPN Tunnel

A VPN’s tunnel is primarily influenced by the VPN protocol being used. It governs the encryption standard, which is a critical part of the tunnel. If there is no encryption, a tunnel will simply route your connection through a server and call it a day. Of course, your IP address will be hidden but your traffic will be bare open.

In that regard, here are the factors that influence a VPN tunnel:

  • VPN protocol being used (such as OpenVPN)
  • An encryption standard being used (such as AES-256-bit encryption)
  • Server networks and their locations
  • Type of servers (physical versus virtual)

When choosing a VPN based on how well it “constructs its tunnel”, look for support for strong VPN protocols, a wide server network, and the existence of physical servers. As we have noted before, OpenVPN and WireGuard are the strongest VPN tunneling protocols available today.

In the case of TuxlerVPN, our residential IP network allows you to connect through virtually any major location in the world. 

A VPN tunnel is a crucial function of VPN software. It is the central operation of a VPN and is the manifestation of encryption and routing. Next time you look for a VPN upgrade, watch out for the tunnel-influencing factors above. Or else, just use TuxlerVPN.

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