Decent VPN software is a must these days if you are concerned with privacy and security. I never connect to a public WiFi network if I can avoid it. But if I have to, then I use a VPN service to protect myself. Wangle is an Australian made VPN app and service that had its origins in network optimisation. I chatted to their CEO, Sean Smith, and CTO Cam Worth about the company and their new mobile VPN product.
Wangles' life started through an acquisition. The initial focus was on hardware that was used for network optimisation. But that early iteration of the company found that software was crucial. That lead to a change in business direction as they started looking at ways to get the most out of point-to-point connections.
From there, they refocussed on consumer products leading to the creation of Wangle VPN.
Worth says many of the VPN products on the market today offer little more than "traffic transference". OpenVPV is often used as it gives developers a quick and easy route to developing and deploying solutions.
And while it's possible everything is encrypted, you still need to ask questions about how the companies are managing keys.
This is one of the principle challenges regarding VPN software today. With the market being flooded by providers, it's hard to know who is reputable and whether they are fulfilling their regulatory obligations and protecting customers.
Some providers use techniques such as proxies and they rewrite webpages and other content, on the fly, in order to speed things up. Worth said Wangle doesn't do this as they have developed their own, proprietary VPN which optimises performance.
Smith noted many of the new VPN providers on the market are driven by commercial models and include adware in order to make money. This is something Wangle doesn't do, he says.
The regulatory side is interesting and not something I'd considered previously. Smith says VPN services are considered to be carriers under Australian law. That means they are subject to the Telecommunications Act that is regulated by ACMA. But while they are compelled to retain metadata, there are not holding the content of any communications.
The company says they will be the first Australian VPN that is compliant with those laws.
Wangle's VPN technology is proprietary. They have points of presence established globally so you can connect from almost anywhere. The data centre capability is provided via Rackspace and AWS and their global comms network is delivered through Equinix.
As far as performance, Wangle has had some testing done by PwC. They say Wangle increases data upload speed on average increase by 90%, increases data download speed on average increase by 45% with peaks of 100% and compresses data by around 19%.
This will be followed by a "family protection" product later this year with enterprise products to follow.
Wangle VPN is available to trial for free for 30 days on both Android and iOS mobile devices, and then on subscription for $4.99 per month.
I'll be testing Wangle over the next couple of weeks and will report back with a review then.