Point to Point Protocol Over Ethernet

An acronym for Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet, PPPoE allows multiple users to connect to a network using the same server. This connection can happen on a modem, router, or computer operating system. A PPPoE connection typically happens with an internet service provider (ISP), though individual users can also configure their computers with a PPPoE connection.

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) originated with dial-up internet connections (through phone lines). PPP network connections only allowed one computer to use the internet through a server. When households began using multiple devices on one network, PPPoE became important. PPP offered message encryption features, which PPPoE also has.

PPPoE is a two-step process for confirming an internet session. The first step is commonly known as the discovery stage, in which the Point-to-Point Protocol authorizes the user so that the ISP knows that they can have a legitimate connection. The user’s media access control (MAC) address in their network is verified. After the user is authorized, the second step - known as the session stage - begins. The user and internet now have a session ID, along with a few other fields that need to be filled with information about the session. This includes which Internet Protocol version (probably IPv4 or IPv6) the session will use.

Aside from allowing more than one device to connect to the Internet, PPPoE also provides encryption and authentication features, such as requiring an Internet user’s password to access the network.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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