What is WireGuard and is this the future of VPN protocols?
WireGuard is a new open-source VPN security protocol that has caught the attention of users and tech experts around the world thanks to its simplicity and great performance. For many WireGuard could be the future of VPN technology. A faster, safer, and much more adaptable option than what the market is currently offering. But is this entirely true?
What is WireGuard?
Developed by a cybersecurity expert and founder of Edge Security, Jason A. Donenfeld, WireGuard is yet another VPN security protocol added to the list of all the existing ones including widely used OpenVPN, or P2TP/ IPSec, IKEv2 PPTP, etc.
As mentioned before, it’s an open-source protocol created with the intention to provide users with a secure internet experience by encrypting their data. WireGuard was initially released for Linux devices but is now compatible with all operating systems.
However, as a new technology that is still under development, WireGuard tries to eliminate all of the disadvantages found in the other VPN protocols. This Virtual Private Network software is said to be faster than OpenVPN and IKEv2 but at the same time much more secure than the PPTP security protocol. Basically, the point is to gain on speed without losing the security features, as it was usually the case until now.
In the following part, we will take a closer look at the good and bad sides of WireGuard and disclose whether this new technology could indeed be considered as the future of Virtual Private Networks.
The pros and cons of WireGuard
Up until now, every VPN security protocol has had both advantages and disadvantages. Now, let’s see what WireGuard has to offer to the potential future users.
Advantages of WireGuard
- Next-level encryption
The idea is to increase protection without reducing the speed. Up until now, that wasn’t always the case. The stronger the encryption, the lower the performance of the VPN will be. However, WireGuard is not following the same principle, and that is why it can resolve this issue and provide future users with the best of both worlds. The developers deliberately avoid the “industry standard” that is known to have weaknesses, and instead go with other cryptography algorithms such as the ChaCha20, Poly1305, BLAKE2, Curve25519, HKDF etc., which are some of the latest and toughest options.
Moreover, WireGuard uses crypto key routing to protect the users. This means it mixes authorized VPN IP addresses with public encryption keys.
- It has a much smaller code
WireGuard was created with only 4,000 lines of code. For average VPN users, this makes no sense at all. However, in order to understand the advantage here, keep in mind that OpenVPN has around 120,000 lines of code, or combined with OpenSSL, it weighs around 600,000 in total. So, WireGuard is not even 1% of this.
The fewer code lines of the WireGuard VPN technology means that the protocol will leave little to no space for vulnerabilities and someone exploiting them.
- Simple to use and configure
The technology has the potential to become the simplest protocol to use in the industry. This can be attributed to the fact that it was related to fewer code lines, but also to the installment process. Of course, if you lack the proper knowledge it won’t be an easy task, but it will take you less time than to set up, for example, an OpenVPN connection.
It’s also important to note that WireGuard is excellent even for less powerful devices.
Disadvantages of WireGuard
- It’s still an experimental protocol
The main drawback of WireGuard is that this is still a work in progress. As a relatively new VPN technology, there are many things that need to be taken care of and bugs that need to be fixed. Back in June 2018, primary WireGuard developers advised users to consider the code as experimental and be cautious with it.
- Stability issues
Considering that it is still in trial mode, the security protocol might experience stability issues for the time being. That means you won’t necessarily get the speed you were looking for in the first place or the best security.
For now, WireGuard looks promising. Hopefully, in the time to come, the creators will manage to fix all the bugs and deliver what was promised. Until then, users will have to consider their other available options or set up the protocol by themselves and at their own risk. But as soon as this technology gets officially released, it’s hard to imagine that someone is going to go back to the other already existing ones.
What is your opinion on this matter? Feel free to share it with us in the comment section below.