ExpressVPN Lightway: what is this promising new VPN protocol?

The VPN protocol wars continue in full swing with the announcement of the highly anticipated launch of ExpressVPN’s Lightway. Based on even smaller source code than WireGuard, this latest generation protocol sets the bar very high in terms of security, stability and performance.

VPN protocols are the cornerstone of VPN services. They determine both the type and level of encryption, stability, and connection speed. Most virtual private network providers generally offer the same aging protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, or even IKEv2 (preferred for mobile terminals). For some time now, certain services like, PIA or VyprVPN have started to integrate the young open source WireGuard protocol. Still under development, this modern protocol has many advantages. Created in 2016 by IT security expert Jason Donenfeld, it is based on a simple and lightweight architecture comprising only 4,000 lines of code. For comparison, the most popular communication protocol OpenVPN has several hundred thousand!

As a result, WireGuard is easier to configure and manage. Based on more reliable modern cryptography standards, it offers better performance than its predecessors OpenVPN and IPSec with lower latency times (PING) and faster connection speeds. However, despite all its qualities, WireGuard does not seem to be the VPN protocol that the market was desperately waiting for. Many specialists agree that WireGuard presents risks for user confidentiality, because it does not guarantee complete anonymity. Based on this observation, some providers like NordVPN have developed new protocols based on the WireGuard source code, but adding an additional layer of security. ExpressVPN went much further by developing its own Lightway protocol.

ExpressVPN Lightway

Lightway: a 100% original version

ExpressVPN, one of the main leaders in the VPN market, created the event by announcing the launch of a brand new protocol entirely developed by itself. Available in beta test version on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and certain routers, this new standard is particularly promising. Lightway relies on a much smaller code base than other VPN protocols, including newer ones like WireGuard. Because it uses fewer lines of code, it not only establishes the connection faster, but it’s much simpler to deploy and audit in case something goes wrong.

For encryption, the protocol leverages the wolfSSL cryptographic program library – a well-known and trusted library that has been the subject of numerous independent studies – to support the AES and ChaCha20 encryption standards. . Also used by WireGuard, the ChaCha20 standard is particularly renowned for its ability to effectively manage network changes (Wi-Fi, 4G, etc.). Lightway is one of the very few protocols to simultaneously support these two encryption standards which provide a very high level of security. Users have the option to select either cryptogram via the advanced protocol options in the software menu.

ExpressVPN Lightway

ExpressVPN Lightway

Unprecedented performances

In addition to enhanced privacy protection, Lightway has been specifically optimized to be able to efficiently manage network changes and, for example, seamlessly switch from a home ADSL or Wi-Fi network to a mobile network. VPN protection remains active even if there is a temporary interruption in an elevator or basement, for example. When used with Lightway, ExpressVPN’s reconnection time has become almost instantaneous with ultra-low latency. Concretely, users no longer risk finding themselves on the Internet without protection. With the Windows client, Lightway is on average up to two times faster than the OpenVPN protocol (UDP).

ExpressVPN Lightway

Thanks to its ultra-light architecture, the program also promises positive effects in terms of energy consumption. It actually saves the battery of mobile terminals, because it requires less processing power from the processor. Ultimately, the supplier plans to publish the Lightway source code in open source format. Like OpenVPN or WireGuard which are also under open source license, this will allow the provider to guarantee greater transparency and develop new technologies and features more quickly. With Lightway, ExpressVPN, which already tops most VPN performance tests on the market, ensures a service that is more reliable, secure and faster than ever.

For more information on ExpressVPN, also see:

  • How to configure ExpressVPN on your Internet box?
  • ExpressVPN: how to configure the Chrome extension?
  • How to configure ExpressVPN on your TV box?
  • How to configure ExpressVPN on your games console?
  • How do I cancel ExpressVPN?
  • How does the ExpressVPN trial work?

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