What is Tunnel-in Networking?

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Updated September 22, 2022

If you are new to the world of private servers, you may ask, “What is tunnel-in networking?” The best VPNs, after all, often engage in tunneling as part of the overall package. So what is tunneling, or tunnel-in networking, and what are the obvious and not-so-obvious benefits? Keep reading to find out.


  • Tunneling is a process by which VPNs and public networks encapsulate IP packet data to increase network speed.
  • Encapsulation refers to a protocol suite by which packets of data are stuffed inside other packets of data, sort of like archival software.
  • Tunneling allows VPNs to offer increased surfing speeds while still maintaining data privacy from Internet service providers to allow for private network communications.

What is a Tunnel-in Network?

You can’t learn about tunneling without understanding the definition of a VPN. A virtual private network creates a private network that is uniquely yours if you have wondered what a server address is for VPNs. Tunneling is an efficient way to move packets of data from one location to another and is used in many VPN offerings, even if you are wondering about VPNs for Android. Tunneling actually incorporates several related technologies if you are wondering what VPN split tunneling is.

Insider Tip

Free VPNs and paid VPNs offer different feature sets, so do your research ahead of time.

How Do VPN Tunnels Work?

Tunneling works by leveraging a concept called encapsulation. Data going through the Internet is automatically divided into packets. Encapsulation puts packets inside of packets, so one packet of data is able to transmit more information than usual. Think of it sort of like a compression algorithm or a ZIP file. VPNs use this format to help speed up Internet service while still offering all of the privacy-enhancing services that customers have grown to rely on.

Benefits of Tunnel Networks

There is a reason why virtual private networks tend to rely on tunnel networks, as they offer a suite of benefits.

Increased Speed

Before tunneling, VPNs were known to be reliable but slow. The speeds of an average VPN did not even come close to regular web surfing, as data had to be relayed to and from various points throughout the globe to maintain privacy. Since the invention of tunneling, however, speed has vastly increased. The packet-within-packet design allows for more information to be transmitted at a time, leading to better speeds.

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Privacy Enhancement

Despite the increase in speed when VPNs opt to tunnel data packets, you still get the same privacy that VPNs normally offer. In other words, it is the very definition of a win-win scenario. As a matter of fact, placing packets inside of other packets actually makes it harder for would-be snoops to keep an eye on what you are doing online. There is a reason, after all, why most modern VPNs decided to opt for this method of packet transfer.

Tunneling Network FAQs

How does packet encapsulation work?

Tunneling protocols differ depending on the software, but network tunnels typically encapsulate one packet of information from an internal network inside another packet.

Why is encapsulation useful?

When it comes to tunneling protocols, encapsulation is useful because it offers a remote user access to a secure tunnel and other network tunnels without sacrificing speed or privacy.

Can you choose which traffic goes through a VPN split tunnel?

You may be able to manually route specific IP packet information, depending on the design of your VPN software. In many cases, however, this is the purview of a network engineer of an internal network.
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