Differences between IKEv2 and IKEv1

In the world of virtual private networks (VPNs), the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) protocol is critical for establishing secure connections. Two versions of this protocol, IKEv1 and IKEv2, have been developed over the years, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re wondering which one is better for your needs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll compare IKEv2 vs IKEv1, highlighting the key differences between the two and helping you make an informed decision on which one to use. So, buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of VPN protocols!

Key differences between IKEv1 vs IKEv2

Key AreaIKEv1IKEv2
HistoryFirst child of IKE familyMore advanced and newer version of IKE
Bandwidth ConsumptionConsumes more bandwidth than IKEv2Consumes less bandwidth than IKEv1
EAP AuthenticationNot supportedSupports EAP authentication
MOBIKE supportNot supportedSupports MOBIKE
NAT traversal (NAT-T)Not supported as a built-in featureNative support
Detect if a VPN tunnel is still aliveNot supportedSupported
Messages to establish a VPN tunnelUses 9 (Main Mode) or 6 messages (Aggressive)Uses fewer and 4 messages
Dead Peer Detection (DPD) and Keep-aliveNot supported by default, can be definedEnabled by default
ReliabilityLess reliableMore reliable due to Request/Response message types, defined procedures, and MOBIKE support
Asymmetric authenticationNot supportedSupported
Backward CompatibilityNot required as the first protocol in the IKE familyNot backward compatible with IKEv1
Authentication methods4 methods including Pre-Shared Key, Digital Signature, Public Key Encryption, and Revised Mode of Public-key Encryption2 methods including Pre-Shared Key and Digital Signature
Remote Access VPNNot supported by default, can be supported by vendor-specific implementations such as Mode Config and XAUTHSupported by default with Extensible Authentication Protocol and Configuration Payload
Multi-homingNot supportedSupported with MOBIKE
Mobile ClientsNot supportedSupported with MOBIKE
DoS protectionsNot supportedSome level of DoS protection supported, including anti-replay function and ‘cookies’ for mitigating flooding attacks
RekeyingNot supportedSupported
Multi-hostingNot supportedSupported with the use of multiple IDs on a single IP address and port pair


Which protocol is more reliable: IKEv1 or IKEv2?

IKEv2 is generally considered to be more reliable than IKEv1, as all message types are Request/Response, IKE SA can be deleted by defined procedures, a message can be retransmitted by a defined procedure, and MOBIKE enables a user to roam seamlessly and change network connections from wired to wireless without disconnecting VPN sessions.

Is IKEv2 backward compatible with IKEv1?

No, IKEv2 is not backward compatible with IKEv1.

Which protocol supports multi-homing?

IKEv2 supports multi-homing through the use of MOBIKE, which enables the use of multiple IDs on a single IP address and port pair. IKEv1 does not support multi-homing.


In conclusion, both IKEv1 and IKEv2 are internet key exchange protocols used for establishing secure VPN connections between networks. However, IKEv2 is a more advanced and efficient version of IKEv1, with support for EAP authentication, MOBIKE, NAT traversal, and a lower bandwidth consumption. IKEv2 also offers better reliability, DoS protection, and supports symmetric authentication, multi-homing, and rekeying.

IKEv1, on the other hand, has been around for a longer time and is still widely used. While it may not be as advanced as IKEv2, it is still a secure protocol that offers several authentication methods and can be implemented with vendor-specific solutions for remote access VPNs.

Choosing between IKEv1 and IKEv2 ultimately depends on the specific requirements and limitations of the network. Both protocols have their strengths and weaknesses, and it is important to carefully evaluate them before making a decision.

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