What Is PPTP VPN Protocol and How It Works

PPTP stands for point to point tunneling protocol and is one of several methods to implement virtual private networks (VPN). PPTP uses a control channel rather than transmission control protocol (TCP) or generic routing encapsulation (GRE) tunnel essentials to encapsulate point to point (PPP) packets.

The security functionality relies on the PPP protocol as the PPTP function does not encrypt or authenticate the necessary features to provide security.  PPTP was the first protocol to be to be supported by dial up networking by Microsoft. All Windows releases are now bundled with PPTP, but they are limited to 2 concurrent outbound connections. Beginning with Windows Mobile 2003, PPTP is supported by the various mobile devices.

PPTP works on the client server model and are included in the Microsoft Windows default for Linux and Mac. PPTP is a popular network protocol and often the choice of many and is especially popular with windows and operates at Layer 2 of the OSI model. PPTP is best used for remote access applications.

Setting up PPTP is not difficult but includes a number of steps. The setup is menu driven and includes a step by step guide. The PPTP is ideal for the small, home office network system or when logging onto the Internet by way of a public, unsecured Wi-Fi hot spot.

One of the biggest advantages to using PPTP is there is no requirement to use a public key infrastructure as the authentication protocol. Utilizing EAP authentication increases the security of PPTP virtual private networks and there can never be enough security.

PPTP VPN’s are supported by many firewall applications, as well as enterprise level firewalls.  PPTP servers can be launched without the installation of client software, if the PPTP is built into the Windows VPN platform. PPTP has proven to have a high level of reliability even though it seems simplistic in design.

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