A VPN tunnel is a fragile system as it requires both sides (A) and (B) to communicate with each other in a specific way so that both ends can assure that they are connected and secure. It may come as surprise but the result of a stable/unstable connection is defined by many factors in between and we'd like to share some light on them so that you can understand the complexity and what may influence your experience.

+ Device influence

If you are running tigerVPN on a mobile device, developers are forced to comply in a certain way. Meaning that power resources are defined, apps are not allowed to drain batteries and must always give priority to internal systems. That's not an easy starting point but it gets worst as this was just the tip of the iceberg. As innocent as your device might look the power management can cause issues and disconnects on the VPN if the app is getting suspended or even hibernated for a couple of seconds. Our VPN network and their servers must acknowledge the tunnel frequently. If the Tunnel was interrupted or the key is out of sync, the VPN is closed to protect you from communicating with the wrong endpoint.

+ Mobile network influence

To talk to the VPN, you can either use a mobile internet connection or WiFi (which in a way is also mobile, but usually only until reaching a router), but keep in mind that your device can be connected to a bad 3G/4G/LTE signal. Now this is important to acknowledge because the very same as above (if interrupted) the VPN will disconnect. Full bar does not mean your mobile connection is "flawless" packet loss is something that is influenced by multiple factors on mobile connections such as (max capacity of a network per cell), weakness of physical cables or the obstacles such as metal, glas and other environmental factors. It might even be because your mobile operator is applying QOS (Quality of Service) and is prioritizing other customers based on their subscription type. Its impossible to list all factors but it should show you how divers and fragile it can be.

+ Wireless network influence

An important role on the stability of a connection is the "direct" and "uninterrupted" connection between your VPN server location and your own device. If you use an overloaded WiFi, an outdated and old router it can impact on the VPN tunnel stability. Mobile hotspots don't help as they just repeat another internet signal and bear additional overhead and flaws.

+ Distance between VPN and device

Given the factors listed above, you already see how complex the entire situation is. Not always its the fault of a specific thing, it can be a combination of many or just one, but its impossible to troubleshoot. Similar like baking a cake, you use eggs, flour, sugar, and many other ingredients, if you bake 1000 cakes and 999 come out great, it can be that 1 that went bad, had a bad egg, salt instead of sugar or the temperature in the oven was just higher than it should have been. When you connect to your VPN node, keep in mind that the internet is not a straight line from A to B. If you are in (let's say) Singapore, and you connect to our tigerVPN node in Singapore, the distance, network hops and latency is very low. If packages are dropped and you experience loss, its much more forgiving as the VPN gets a relatively quick answer from your device. If you connect to Frankfurt however, the distance of the network is significantly higher and delays and packet loss takes a greater impact. The distance between you and the vpn server is not only determined by "air distance" but by network layer. If your ISP hands over traffic to us in a specific location, it can happen that although the "air distance" is shorter, the "internet distance" is much greater. It is wise to connect to a node close to you based on the latency recommendation inside the app. The higher the latency, the longer it takes for the data to travel before reaching its destination.

+ Distance + extra distance (multi loop)

Another problem is if you are adding up latency. Imagine you are in Dubai (Emirates), you connect to the VPN node in Los Angeles (USA west coast), but then you surf and browse local websites. You send data from the UA Emirates to USA (Los Angeles), which will add approximately 300ms of latency, and our VPN node will then request websites from Los Angeles which have to travel back all the way. Even worst if the content comes from other regions (let's say UK, London) you add up 300ms + 200ms + 300ms of latency. As you can see, you send the data around the globe twice. Remember, just because you don't browse local websites, does not mean you don't create local traffic. Sometimes you will/must/want to connect to a specific node, because you want to watch hulu as example, which is only available inside the US but keep in mind that these are factors that are adding up making an impact on your experience.

We hope this article was helpful in understanding the complexity of VPN and the tiny parts in between.

Not every single case may be influencing your experience but it's good to know the entire world of VPN in order to understand how you can improve things by knowing the facts.

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