All about the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

PPTP is a data link layer protocol for wide area networks (WAN) based on Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) and developed by Microsoft. It allows network traffic to be encapsulated and routed over an unsecured public network such as the Internet.

This is why PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is used by Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which tunnels TCP/IP traffic through the Internet.

Remote users can securely access corporate local area network (LAN) resources using the internet instead of having to use direct modem connections over the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or dedicated leased line connections

PPTP protocol is available on the PureVPN app

How does it work?

The PPTP protocol is an extension of PPP and is based on the PPP negotiation, authentication, and encryption schemes. PPTP encapsulates IP (Internet Protocol), IPX (Internetwork Packet Exchange), or NetBEUI packets in PPP frames, creating a “tunnel” for secure communication over a LAN or WAN link.

The PPTP tunnel is responsible for data authentication and encryption and allows data to be transmitted securely over unsecured networks.

PPTP supports two types of tunneling:

  • Mandatory tunneling: Initiated by a PPTP server at an ISP. This type of tunneling must be supported by network access servers (NAS) or routers.
  • Voluntary tunneling: Initiated by the PPTP client (such as Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, or Windows 2000). This type of tunneling does not require the support of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or network devices such as bridges.

Whatever type of tunneling you use, you must use a PPTP server. Businesses can set up dedicated PPTP servers on their networks using Windows NT Server.

Microsoft’s Remote Access Service (RAS) supports PPTP over dedicated and dial-up Internet connections. To enable Windows Server to act as a PPTP server, click Network in Control Panel, click the Advanced button in the TCP/IP property sheet, and select Enable PPTP Filtering.

Troubleshooting PPTP

Because PPTP supports multiple network protocols, including IP, IPX, and NetBEUI, two computers can only establish a tunnel over the Internet if they are running the same network protocol. To troubleshoot PPTP over a TCP/IP connection, use ping to determine if you are connected to your PPTP server.

On the other hand, also check that you have trusted credentials in the PPTP server domain and that you don’t have an active Winsock proxy client that could redirect PPTP packets to a proxy server rather than your VPN .

Despite its age and security shortcomings, the PPTP protocol is still used in some network implementations – primarily internal corporate VPNs in older offices.

On the other hand, the advantages of PPTP are that it is easy to set up, fast and, since it is integrated into most platforms, you do not need any special software to use it. All you need to establish a connection are your login credentials and a server address.

However, ease of use doesn’t mean you have to use it, especially if a high level of security is important to you. In this case, you should use a more secure protocol for your VPN networks, such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, or IKEv2/IPSec.

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