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In computer networking, TUN and TAP are virtual-network kernel devices. Being network devices supported entirely in software, they differ from ordinary network devices which are backed up by hardware network adapters.
TUN (namely network TUNnel) simulates a network layer device and it operates with layer 3 packets like IP packets. TAP (namely network tap) simulates a link layer device and it operates with layer 2 packets like Ethernet frames. TUN is used with routing, while TAP is used for creating a network bridge.
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.
Systems and programmers use TUN/TAP for:
- Virtual private networks
- OpenVPN, Ethernet/IP over TCP/UDP; encrypted, compressed
- FreeLAN, open-source, free, multi-platform IPv4, IPv6 and peer-to-peer VPN software over UDP/IP.
- n2n, an open source Layer 2 over Layer 3 VPN application which utilises a peer-to-peer architecture for network membership and routing
- tinc (protocol) , Ethernet/IPv4/IPv6 over TCP/UDP; encrypted, compressed
- VTun , Ethernet/IP/serial/Unix pipe over TCP; encrypted, compressed, traffic-shaping
- ICMPTX , IP over ICMP (ping)
- NSTX, iodine , IP over DNS
- HTun , IP over HTTP
- coLinux, Ethernet/IP over TCP/UDP
- VPN-X Java TAP Wrapper, VPN-X can be a P2P VPN, can be a SSL VPN
- Virtual-machine networking
Platforms with TUN/TAP drivers include:
- Linux, starting around version 2.1.60
- iOS (tun driver only)
- Mac OS X
- Android Operating System (tun driver only)
- Solaris Operating System
- Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8
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