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We just launched Smart Protocol for Android!

Posted on May 6th, 2020 by in Service Updates.

An illustration of the Smart Protocol feature for Android.

 

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.

We believe the Internet should be uncensored. Open access to information is a bedrock of democratic society, and our mission is to create online tools that make digital freedom possible. Our work is only possible because of the support of our community — thank you.

Stay tuned for more updates from Proton by following our social media channels below and checking out our blog.

Twitter | Facebook | Reddit | Instagram

To get a free ProtonMail encrypted email account, visit protonmail.com.

Ben Wolford is a writer at Proton. A journalist for many years, Ben joined Proton to help lead the fight for data privacy.

Post Comment

17 comments

  1. David

    This means we have to install the VPN program in the work computer? And what happens if the administrator has blocked installation of programs?

  2. Ben Wolford

    Yes, to use ProtonVPN, you would have to install it on your device.

  3. Alton

    Thanx for sharing this app with the the rest of us a top shelf product

  4. Jan

    Hi, I try to connect with your VPN and i have take an adres in Holland I cann’t make connection with my NPO app.
    It says “no services for your recent country….
    How can I avoid this devestating annoncement.
    Is there a other selection made??
    Thanx in advance,
    Jan

  5. Daniel Johnson-O’Mara

    Protonmail is a service to which I have migrated all the people and entities that are important to me.
    Thanks for your VPN! Really well running product.
    Thanks for your work!

  6. Brendon Brathwaite

    “Smart” is definitely the right word to use, it covers and secures all my messages also, as well as screens my notifications. This VPN is the best, I made no regrets downloading it to both my laptop and my android device.

  7. Anthony

    the team is doing great and this is one more tool to help people avoid lock outs

  8. Glendon Rich

    When will ProtonVPN be available for iPhone as
    a search engine even as it is set up for email use
    at present on iPhone?…

  9. Chris

    Yes proton is the best. I use the email and VPN. There are some things that are your business and no-one else’s be it banking or whatever. Thank you Proton.😁

  10. Paul

    Great news!
    Is Smart Protocol also available for iOS and MacOS?
    Will it be?
    Thanks.

  11. JrA

    Dropped my subscription because this VPN sucks. It would regularly block various email accounts and benign apps. Tech support was useless and basically said it shouldn’t block anything. Wrong!! Wasn’t going to pay for a Pro account just to get nonsense tech support and blocking email and apps.

  12. Laszlo Tihanyi

    Many thanks to you, I’m very grateful to be able to use Proton VPN and Proton Mail

  13. Romi Saputra

    The best VPN in this planet, thank you so much for company

  14. Marko

    Thank you from ❤️ for everything you are doing for all of us. One of the world’s greatest companies.
    Greetings from Serbia 😊

  15. Richie Koch

    Hello Marko,
    Thank you for your kind words and for your support. We’re happy you’re a member of the Proton community!
    Cheers

  16. Flora Daniel

    Thanks a lot Protonmail/ ProtonVPN. You’re really amazing , responsible and fair. Keep up the very good work.

  17. Richie Koch

    Thank you Flora! We will not stop until everyone has access to an Internet that respects their privacy and freedom. Cheers.

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