L2TP stands for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, published in 2000 as proposed standard RFC 2661. It is a computer networking protocol that was designed to support VPN connections used by an Internet service provider (ISP) to enable VPN’s operation over the Internet. L2TP combines the best features of two other tunneling protocols- PPTP(Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) from Microsoft and L2F(Layer 2 Forwarding) from Cisco Systems. L2TP incorporates all the features of PPTP but uses IPsec for encryption.
Characteristics of L2TP
- Platform: Easy to configure and set up since it is natively supported by almost all modern operating systems.
- Performance: Provides stable performance on unstable networks as well which makes it safer and better for remote network connections.
- Security: L2TP doesn’t provide its own encryption.But it is usually implemented with IPsec authentication suite. When it’s paired up with IPSec, it also uses UDP ports 500 (for IKE – Internet Key Exchange), 4500 (for NAT), and 1701 (for L2TP traffic).
- Stability: It is proven to be stable on various kinds of networks and operating devices.
Advantages of L2TP
- L2TP prevents data from being manipulated by intruders when traveling between sender and receiver and requires a shared key or a digital signature before transmission.
- It is cost-effective and even after implementation it doesn’t have an overhead charge.
- Provides effective connectivity.
- It is very reliable and doesn’t face any performance issues when used on unstable network connections.
- It even encrypts the authentication process which provides the data more secure from intruders.
- L2TP has its endpoints located on different machines since it uses packet-switched network connections. This eliminates possible long-distance charges as the connection can terminate at a local circuit concentrator.
- Best for tasks where security is vital such as online shopping.
Disadvantages of L2TP
- Due to double encapsulation, it has a slower speed of transmission than other protocols.
- Higher CPU usage by L2TP contributes to a slower speed as well.
- Relatively easier to get blocked by firewalls as it communicates over UDP.
- It has no encryption of its own. It has to depend on IPsec for encryption.
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