The Lightway VPN protocol from ExpressVPN is your ticket to faster VPN speeds!

As VPN usage has grown, VPN Providers are making an effort to expand the VPN Protocols they support. While many VPN providers are expanding their support for new protocols, like WireGuard, ExpressVPN has opted to create its own protocol, Lightway. Check out what this new protocol offers.

Quick Overview

Released in early 2021, ExpressVPN’s Lightway Protocol offers users a unique VPN experience. Learn how it works and the best ways to take advantage of it.

Which VPNs Support Lightway Protocol?

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And, if you’re looking for the optimal way to take advantage of Lightway, upgrading your wireless network router will ensure a seamless Lightway experience.

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What is Lightway?

Lightway is a new VPN protocol designed by ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN’s extensive network gives you the ability to surf anonymously and access the unrestricted Internet in every corner of the globe. It’s perfect if you’re looking to travel to China!

  • 3,000+ VPN servers in 90+ countries
  • 5-Star Customer Support
  • Runs its own SmartDNS Service

It offers users a new way to connect to their devices. It promises users faster speeds, more stable connections, and better efficiency.

What Are the Benefits of Lightway Protocol?

  • Compact Design: Lightway’s codebase is only around 1000 lines of code. Meaning, it is easy to audit and reduces the surface area for attacks.
  • More Efficient Connections: Unlike older protocols, Lightway is unique in how it handles connections. Where older protocols terminated connections when service was interrupted, Lightway idles connections, allowing for a smoother experience. In other words, your VPN connection will re-establish if you wake your device from sleep or remove it from airplane mode.
  • Preserves Perfect Forward Secrecy: By default, Lightway makes sure that encryption and decryption keys are not recycled. Each time a new device connects to an ExpressVPN server, your device and the server use a unique encryption and decryption code to establish a connection. This makes it much more difficult for anyone to intercept your data en-route.

What Are the Drawbacks of Lightway Protocol?

  • Not Open Source (yet): Unlike more established VPN protocols like OpenVPN, or new entrants like WireGuard, Lightway’s codebase is not open source, meaning reporting fixes to potential bugs will take longer. However, ExpressVPN has indicated that they will make the code for Lightway open source in the near future.
  • No built-in obfuscation: At the moment, the Lightway protocol doesn’t automatically obfuscate traffic by default. This means onlookers, like your ISP, can potentially see that you’re connected to a VPN. However, ExpressVPN has additional settings that make obfuscating your traffic easier.

What Are the Technical Specs of Lightway?

For cryptographic purposes, Lightway uses the highly-regarded cryptography library wolfSSL.

Keys are negotiated using Elliptic-Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) every 15 minutes, or whenever your device changes networks, for instance as you move between Wi-Fi and mobile data. If ECDH fails, the software falls back to a classic Diffie-Hellman exchange.

At the moment, the only two ciphers used in Lightway are AES-256-GCM and ChaCha20/Poly1305. By default, Lightway uses AES-256-GCM. However, for devices that don’t support AES, Lightway will use the ChaCha20 cipher.

The protocol works with both UDP and TCP and supports TLS for both. In UDP, the protocol uses D/TLS 1.2 (TLS for UDP). For TCP connections, Lightway uses TLS 1.3. And, once TLS 1.3 supports the UDP Protocol, it will as well.

For a more detailed description, read what ExpressVPN’s developers have to say.

Is the Lightway VPN Protocol Available on Routers?

Yes! If you have an ExpressVPN-configured router, you can activate the Lightway VPN Protocol on your Router by visiting the router’s “VPN Preferences” page. For a further explanation, please visit ExpressVPN’s dedicated page.

What’s the Benefit of Lightway VPN Protocol on Routers?

For those looking to take advantage of the new Lightway VPN protocol, doing so with a VPN-configured FlashRouter is the best way to go! An ExpressVPN-configured FlashRouter gives users the opportunity to take advantage of all of the features that come with the Lightway Protocol.

For example, using Lightway VPN Protocol on a router allows users to connect your favorite streaming devices, like Amazon Fire, without additional hassle. Likewise, with an ExpressVPN FlashRouter, users never have to worry about device limits. Since all your devices are connected to the router, they count as one connection. In addition, FlashRouters come with upgraded open-source firmware that eliminates the bugs and vulnerabilities associated with regular router firmware.

In short, an ExpressVPN-configured FlashRouter lets you take advantage of Lightway’s features and helps you secure your network from potential outside threats.

What Are the Best FlashRouters for Lightway Protocol?

ExpressVPN Aircove Wi-Fi 6 Router

  • Built-in Wi-Fi 6
  • Supports ExpressVPN Lightway Protocol by Default

Have any questions about the Lightway VPN Protocol on routers, VPNs, or networking in general? Feel free to reach out to us!