Smart Protocol works automatically to make sure you can stay connected to ProtonVPN, even when someone is trying to block your access. It’s one of those features that makes your life easier without you noticing. And today we’re excited to bring this feature to Android.
To take advantage of it, all you have to do is make sure you’re running the latest version of the Android app.
If you don’t have the app yet, you can download ProtonVPN for Android here.
Here’s what Smart Protocol does
The typical use case for this is when you’re at work, at your university, or somewhere where you don’t control your network and the network administrator wants to restrict your access to the Internet. They may try to block ProtonVPN (and other VPNs) by blocking the transmission protocol you’re using.
Smart Protocol attempts to bypass this kind of censorship by automatically trying to connect through different VPN protocols if the default protocol is blocked.
Before, you would have had to manually switch protocols. Now you can just connect normally, and the app handles everything. Smart Protocol is enabled by default in the app.
How Smart Protocol works
VPNs send encrypted data packets over the Internet, protecting your activity from surveillance and masking your true location. In order to “talk” with other computers, VPNs use standard protocols that govern the way the packets are sent and received via ports on ProtonVPN servers.
Each protocol uses a different port and can also use backup ports. Those ports are essentially a choke point that can be closed off. A network owner can block access to those ports to restrict your access to the Internet to a connection they can monitor.
While many VPN services only support one protocol per app — usually IKEv2 for mobile and OpenVPN for desktop — our Android app supports both. OpenVPN is based on two different transport protocols called User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
Some protocols are faster and more stable than others. By default, we use the fastest and most stable first. If that one is blocked, Smart Protocol Selection will automatically try the next one.
Some ports are more difficult to block because they handle a large amount of all Internet traffic. A network administrator can’t block these ports without making the network fairly useless.
Learn more: What’s the difference between UDP and TCP?
What else you should know
Tech savvy users can also choose protocols manually. Just go into the Android app settings, disable Smart Protocol, and set your protocol to IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP or OpenVPN TCP. Simply go to Settings in the Android app and tap the switch next to “Smart Protocol” to disable it. Once Smart Protocol is disabled, you can select your desired VPN protocol.
If you have a PC, you can also use Smart Protocol for Windows. The feature is coming to more platforms soon.
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