Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between PPTP and L2TP


A tunneling protocol is used to carry a payload on an incompatible delivery network. It can also be used to supply a protected path through a network. At its basic description, it is a communications protocol to encapsulate at a peer level or lower.

Tunneling protocols are also transporters of multiple protocols. They are vehicles for encrypted VPNs.


PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is a method used for creating Virtual Private Networks over the internet. It is developed by Microsoft. With its use, users can remotely access corporate networks from any Internet Service Provider (ISP) that supports the protocol. PPTP works at the datalink layer of the OSI model.

There are various kinds of network protocol and PPTP encapsulates and transports them over IP. If the original protocol is IP, its packets will follow along as encrypted information along PPTP packets. As expected, PPTP is derived from the Generic Routing Encapsulation protocol (GRE) and Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). As it is from Microsoft, the encryption is done via RC4-based Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption.

PPTP is often favored because it is easy to use and to set-up. However, it can be crude and in terms of functionality and efficiency, it may be outdone by its descendants such as L2TP. PPTP is rather ancient but still considered popular until now.

In PPTP, control and data streams are separated. Control streams are over TCP while data streams run over GRE. This makes PPTP less firewall-friendly since GRE is often not supported.


Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol or L2TP is a tunneling protocol that allows remote users to access the common network. L2TP lets a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) session travel over several networks and links. L2TP was actually taken from PPTP of Microsoft and Cisco’s L2F or Layer 2 Forwarding technology. Thus, LT2P has the features of PPTP as it combines PPTP’s control and data channels and it is being run over a faster transport protocol, UDP.

Since UDP is fast and more ideal in real-time exchangers, in addition to the combined transport of control and data streams, L2TP is found to be more firewall-friendly.

When security is a priority, L2TP is a better option as it requires certificates unlike PPTP. Because of this, bodies responsible for standardization are more inclined towards L2TP. However, L2TP tends to be more complicated than its predecessor, the PPTP.

For the time being, where Microsoft mostly dictates encryption and decryption, PPTP is still found to be a more practical and popular choice.


1. PPTP is developed by Microsoft while L2TP added PPTP’s features at its own in addition to L2F.
2. L2TP is more secure than PPTP.
3. PPTP is easier to use and to setup.
4. In PPTP, control and data streams are separated while L2TP transports both streams in combination.

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