VPN Articles and News

What Is SoftEther VPN Protocol?

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Monday, February 22nd, 2016


SoftEther is a free, cross-platform and open-source VPN solution which was released in January’ 2014. Unlike other VPN protocols, the solution comprises of multiple VPN protocols included into a single VPN package and it was designed to penetrate firewalls and deliver optimized performance. While most big VPN companies still do not offer SoftEther based privacy services, the protocol is getting noticed for its speed and security features. In this informative article, you will learn all about what this protocol has to offer to its users.

History – SoftEther VPN was developed by Daiyuu Nobori as a personal project while doing his Master’s Degree at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. While using the PPTP protocol in conjunction with his campus Wi-Fi, Nobori discovered that he was allowed to access only TCP Ports 80 and 443 and as such was not able to connect to his home computer through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop tool (which uses TCP Port 3389). He created and released SoftEther 1.0 in 2003 which forms the basis of SoftEther VPN. Currently, the development of the protocol is carried out by Nobori at the University of Tsukuba in conjunction with several other stuent members.

System Support – SoftEther server can be configured on Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Solaris and Linux operating systems whereas its native VPN client is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. However, since the solution comprises of multiple VPN protocols (including L2TP, L2TPv3, IPSec, OpenVPN, EtherIP, SSL VPN and SSTP), it can also be implemented on mobile devices (Android, iOS and Windows Phone) as well as routers through any other compatible protocol.

Encryption – SoftEther VPN delivers up to 256-bit AES encryption which gets authenticated with 4096-bit RSA keys. The inclusion of SSL based tunneling and NAT Traversal within the solution allows the packets to pass through most NATs and firewalls. The protocol even includes a VPN over ICMP and VPN over DNS to bypass even the most restrictive firewalls. And since the protocol uses HTTPS to disguise its underlying traffic, it can bypass even the most stringent deep packet inspection activities carried out by the intelligence agencies. The protocol also includes built-in security features like RSA certificate authentication, RADIUS / NT Domain user authentication and firewall for inner VPN tunnel.

Configuration – SoftEther VPN server is easy to set up since all settings need to be configured through its Graphical User Interface. By using the protocol, it is easy to implement both site-to-site as well as remote-access VPNs. The solution includes embedded DNS and NAT-traversal so there is no need for a fixed or static IP address. As far as configuring the service on a client machine is considered, it may involve installing a software or modifying the default network settings (depends on the protocol supported by the device).

Speed – SoftEther was designed to deliver a highly optimized performance. The solution includes several groundbreaking modules including minimizing the frequency of memory copies, resolution of MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) problems present in legacy protocols as well as parallel transmission of multiple tunnels to deliver highly optimized and fast throughput. In fact, the protocol is capable of delivering 1Gbit/s-class throughputs while consuming very little memory or overburdening the CPU.

Port – SoftEther relies on the HTTPS protocol to establish a VPN connection and routes traffic via TCP port 443.

Stability – The solution doesn’t suffer from any stability issues. Its code is highly optimized which gets thoroughly tested for memory and resource related leaks before being released in the open.

Security Issues – There are no major security vulnerabilities associated with the SoftEther VPN protocol.

Conclusion – SoftEther offers an extremely secure VPN solution which includes several cutting-edge features. The protocol is not only able to deliver the best throughput among the existing VPN protocols, it also offers top-class security. While not many VPN companies offer SoftEther based VPN services, the protocol has the potential of becoming a game changer as far as online privacy industry is concerned.


February 22, 2016
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