Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide secure tunnels for users to send traffic. Leveraging these tunnels provide several security benefits to a user; for instance, it makes it difficult for a VPN user to be tracked, their data leaked to the wrong hands, and even allows remote workers to work from diverse locations without and access company resources securely. So by safely sharing files, VPN users can mask their location if they choose to do so.
VPNs use two key advanced tunnel features: split tunneling and full tunneling.
Split tunneling vs. Full tunneling: Full tunneling provides total traffic access to a tunnel, but split tunneling shares routes part of the traffic through a tunnel and others through an open source channel. VPN users will find this particularly beneficial when they want to enjoy services that work best when their location is accessible on the internet. At the same time, you can send sensitive information over the internet via secure access.
VPNs routing all traffic to and from a single tunnel will experience overloading on their servers and data centers, leading to slow network speed – however, it promises high security. But the open network shares your traffic and reduces overloading servers, promoting improved traffic flow. Aside from the benefit of improved speed, it also helps save hardware costs.
Main Features of the Split Tunnel
- The VPN split tunnel promotes a faster traffic flow since only significant traffic is encrypted.
- The traffic is channeled via both a VPN client and the open network.
- A split tunnel is much more for people who prioritize performance over security.
How Does VPN Split Tunneling Work?
Split tunneling is done through a setting provided in some VPN software applications.
The software determines which traffic will be routed upon request through the VPN secure tunnel or the public network, depending on the instructions provided. You can specify your splitting based on applications, website URLs, or IP addresses.
The traffic you have incorporated in the service travels through the provided tunnel to the VPN server. After that, your request is dispatched to the public internet, and your IP is hidden. This implies that split tunneling still upholds a good level of security while routing your traffic through the tunnel.
And unlike the typical VPN traffic, excluded traffic isn’t slowed down, but your IP address is concealed. Other online platforms that require your real IP identity or location will work perfectly as usual.
The VPN is set by default to route 100% of user traffic, but this is not guaranteeing a high-performance rate. With a split tunnel, VPN users maintain a connection between LAN and WAN to use network connection as company servers and retain utmost traffic security.
Setting Up the Split Tunnel
You can set up the split tunnel in two significant ways. One, you can integrate split-include tunnels, also inverse split tunneling where you provide the connections list that should be secured and let every other thing follow the open network path.
Two, you can deploy the split-exclude tunnel where you choose what should not be encrypted or go through the tunnel, and every other traffic follows automatically through the VPN.
In creating a list of what to include to exclude, you might either be allowed by VPN services to list IP addresses or URLs.
The app-based split tunneling also enables you to decide on the applications to connect through the VPN. The others do not necessarily need optimal security and can be channeled directly to the internet. Again, this feature is often configured through VPN software installed on your system.
So, with the split-include, you send everything you have selected to go through the VPN, and in the split-exclude tunnel, the split-exclude, everything except your chosen traffic harness the VPN
However, it is best to consider two web browsers to exclude URLs when your VPN only supports app-based split stunning. Let one browser that requires your ideal IP address and location be routed via applications while the other goes through VPNs.
Who Uses Split Tunneling?
Private mobile individuals and business owners best consider split tunneling to economize bandwidth usage while still receiving their desired security.
A home user can also leverage split tunneling to circumvent geo-restrictions and gain access to a higher volume of data for their services without any negative effect on their regular services.
Administrators also find split tunneling an excellent option for personalized browsing and emailing activities while retaining secure and high-performing online activities.
Top 4 Benefits of VPN Split Tunneling
VPN split tunneling is not generally applicable to all organizational structures. And if you see the need to then turn it off after setting your VPN, you’ll have the option to do so. Most companies utilizing VPNs also have bandwidth restrictions mainly because they use the VPN for both encrypting data and transmitting it to a separately located server. However, if split tunneling is not implemented or adequately implemented, it can result in performance issues.
1. Secure Connection for Remote Employees
One of the top benefits of split tunneling is that it offers a secure network connection for your remote workers regardless of location. They will use the VPN that offers encrypted access to sensitive files and email while accessing other internet resources through their internet service provider (ISP) with great connection speed.
2. Access Geo-Restricted Content Without Using Foreign IP Addresses
VPN split tunneling allows users to access streaming sites and other geo-restricted platforms to view content without using foreign IP addresses. You can connect from your region and get unrestricted access to necessary information on websites even when your location isn’t hidden.
The VPN feature allows you to choose which application will use the IP and which other will use the VPN server.
3. Reduced Bandwidth Consumption
Since split tunneling reduces the amount of traffic that travels through a VPN-encrypted tunnel, this also reduces your bandwidth consumption and routes a chunk of your traffic via a public network to enhance performance.
4. Access Resources on a Local Area Network (LAN)
A VPN encryption may not offer you the leeway to access your LAN, but split tunneling allows you to use local resources such as scanners and printers while still enjoying security from your VPN service.