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Wireguard vs OpenVPN on NordVPN with T-Mobile Home Internet on Debian GNU/Linux. Bonus: T-Mobile Home Internet Nokia modem has bad WiFi defaults.

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GNU
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Microsoft

Before Private Internet Access went to hell, I once spoke to their former tech support people about Windows 10 in their IRC chat room, and “Max-P” told me that writing VPN software for Windows was the worst part of the job. He said that preventing “leakage”, that is, where your kill switch doesn’t work and your traffic spills out onto the open internet, which is what you bought the VPN to avoid, is very difficult to ensure on Windows.

Furthermore, it’s hard to get any decent sort of throughput on a VPN in Windows, because Windows doesn’t have any sort of usable and secure VPN tech included in the OS. In fact, NordVPN says that if you try using IKEv2 in Windows 10, it will sabotage it by using weak cryptography. (“Note: the Windows system configuration downgrades the cipher to the weaker 3DES-CBC encryption.“)

Most Windows VPN software use “WinTun” to route traffic around and are essentially rate limited and use a ton of CPU time for overhead. That is, doing nothing important at all and tying up system resources. Creating more bottlenecks due to inherently bad design.

The VPN situation on Linux is….better. If it doesn’t make your networking stack great again, it’ll at least help make it tolerable. You can set up NetworkManager and bypass VPN software entirely, and use OpenVPN binaries from your Linux distribution, or you can use something like NordVPN’s client which makes things a little bit simpler, hopefully, with commands like “nordvpn c”, “nordvpn d”, “nordvpn set autoconnect on”, “nordvpn set killswitch on” and so on.

It takes but a few minutes to understand how to use NordVPN’s LInux software, and unlike the Windows version, there isn’t all sorts of nasty stuff going on behind the scenes. The killswitch is just firewall rules. There doesn’t need to be a lot of crazy stuff going on that can make your internet connection unusable if the connection drops out until you reboot the computer, which is what often happens on Windows 10. Also, their client for Linux doesn’t pop up notifications to go read their blog posts.

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