2

I am currently using NordVPN on my Windows 10 system, and during the course of uninstalling an unrelated program, I came across something called 'TAP - NordVPN 9.21.2' on the Uninstall/Change list. NordVPN has always been on that list, and I'm guessing I just hadn't seen the 'TAP- NordVPN 9.21.2' before.

I wansn't planning to uninstall it, but I'm curious as to its function. I searched for "TAP adapters" and "TAP drivers," but I couldn't find any information telling me what a TAP driver/adapter does or why it's needed. As far as I could tell, it's connected to the function of the VPN, but I couldn't find out how or why. Only a vague mention about it being a virtual adapter for the VPN to communicate with something else. Could someone please explain this?

NordVPN

TAP - NordVPN 9.21.2

2
  • with traditional VPNs, TAP vpn endpoints are from a client directly to an endpoint, so they are kind of AdHoc, and are created and destroyed as they are needed. when you vpn into work from home, thats a tap connection. the other option, TUN connections, are infrastructure, so they are pre-created between a pair of router-like devices, and are generally persistent, such that end devices don't need any particular software or knowledge of the VPN connection; they just send packets that upstream devices know to route into the tunnel. Jun 28 '18 at 14:37
  • there are several types of things currently called VPN, but the most robust ones use a virtual network adapter to represent the local tunnel endpoint. that way you can configure your system to route certain traffic through the VPN, without the app in question knowing anything about the VPN at all. they also allow you to do things like firewalling, split tunneling, etc. The item you highlighted is the virtual network adapter installation package. its essentially a driver. Jun 28 '18 at 14:42
3

As far as I could tell, it's connected to the function of the VPN, but I couldn't find out how or why. Only a vague mention about it being a virtual adapter for the VPN to communicate with something else. Could someone please explain this?

It's a virtual network interface. It is indeed used by your VPN client.

TAP-Windows provides virtual TAP device functionality on the Windows OS.

TAP devices are virtual network kernel devices supported entirely in software – and not backed up by hardware network adapters. TAP drivers are used for TAP devices to work and they are designed with low-level kernel support for Ethernet tunneling.

Source: What are TAP-Windows adapters and why does your VPN require this Driver

Additionally,

Packets sent by an operating system via a TUN/TAP device are delivered to a user-space program which attaches itself to the device. A user-space program may also pass packets into a TUN/TAP device. In this case the TUN/TAP device delivers (or "injects") these packets to the operating-system network stack thus emulating their reception from an external source.

Wikipedia - TUN/TAP

2

TAP is a vritual network kernel interface - a virtual network card if you will - used for creating a network bridge, ie. a connection between two networks.

There is an article about it on Wikipedia.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.