For the brave: New WireGuard for Windows promises better VPN performance

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Wireguard developer Jason A. Donenfeld announced a new version of VPN software for Windows on the Wireguard mailing list. WireGuardNT is still in the early stages of development, but promises to overcome the performance weaknesses of the current implementation of WireGuard for Windows.

Until now, Windows users have used a cross-platform Go implementation to configure VPNs with WireGuard. The VPN code is located in user space, so every UDP network packet that arrives through a network adapter must first be transferred from the kernel to the Go program in user space. There it is decrypted and sent back to the kernel through a generic network tunnel driver to be delivered to the application that receives the data through the VPN. Sent packets take the same path backwards, so two kernel to user space context switches are needed here as well. This costs performance which, according to Donenfeld’s experiences, is particularly evident in data transmission over WLAN.

WireGuardNT integrates WireGuard code into the Windows networking stack so that cumbersome round trips between the kernel and user space are no longer necessary. It can be used with Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 on AMD64, x86, ARM64 and ARM processors. The implementation results from porting the Linux code to Windows, but remains experimental: according to Donenfeld, neither security nor functionality has been adequately tested.

Interested WireGuard users can help with the tests: With version 0.4, WireGuardNT is in the standard installer for Windows which must be activated via special registry keys. Who the manual can use the experimental WireGuard kernel driver – at your own risk, as Donenfeld points out.

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