IPSec vs. L2TP – Which is the better VPN Protocol?

There are so many VPN Protocols to choose from. But which one is the best? Hard to decide, right? Especially between IPSec and L2TP, which we will talk about in this article. Not only will we draw comparisons between the two, but we will also answer the most commonly asked questions.

Let’s dive into it!

What are IPSec and L2TP?

IPSec stands for Internet Security Protocol. It is used in VPNs and is a secure network protocol for encrypting and authenticating data packets to establish secure communication. It is also known as “VPN over IPSec”. It is implemented on the IP layer of a network.

L2TP stands for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. It is a tunnelling protocol for supporting VPNs and may not provide robust authentication. It is used alongside IPSec, which is why we see VPN providers giving access to L2TP/IPsec and not just L2TP.

Which is the better VPN Protocol – IPSec or L2TP?

Before we begin, L2TP is essentially used along with IPSec. Without its involvement, L2TP might not work as effectively as possible. It originated from Microsoft’s PPTP and needs to be wrapped with IPSec to have strong encryption and authentication. First, the IPSec channel gets established, and once this happens, the L2PT tunnel gets established. Later, the established IPSec connection is also used to transfer the data.

Compared to the standard IPSec, the additional encapsulation with L2TP that adds an L2TP header and an IP/UDP packet header reduces the efficiency. Regarding security, both have the same characteristics, but it all boils down to the authentication method, the mode used, the key’s strength, and the algorithms.

It is noteworthy that L2TP has an advantage over the standard IPSec as it can even transport protocols other than IP.



I. What is the meaning of L2TP over IPSec?

It is a combination of Layer 2 transfer protocol and IPsec. IPSec helps protect and create a secure pathway for transmitting data.

II. What is the meaning of the L2TP secret?

L2PT Secret, a VPN secret, is a unique password created to protect VPN access, and it is different from the regular password.

III. What is the most significant limitation of IPSec?

  • The server might come under significant risk if broken algorithms are used since some algorithms have security issues.
  • There is high CPU usage.
  • Compatibility issues with specific software.

IV. What does L2TP/IPsec use for encryption?

It uses the standardized IPSec protocol, either the AES or 3DES encryption algorithm, and a 256-bit key is used for the encryption.

V. Why do we use tunnelling protocols like L2TP?

We use tunnelling protocols to send private network data over a public network when we create a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which can also be used to enhance the security of unencrypted data. In contrast, it is being sent over a public network.


So, it is best to use the L2PT encapsulated with the IPsec protocol, as it will give good results, and the encryption is also better in this case. It is best to use L2TP with IPSec.

More related articles: Is L2PT VPN Secure?

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