Microsoft Edge VPN hands on: Prevents tracking, but not a proper VPN replacement

A support document revealed that Microsoft is secretly
developing its own ‘Edge
Secure Network’ with VPN-like capabilities, leading many to
believe that Edge will get an Opera-like built-in and
full-fledged VPN tool. However, as we spectated, Edge Secure
Network is actually not a proper replacement for VPNs.

Microsoft Edge Secure Network is now available for some users
and one of our Edge Canary installations has also received the

As highlighted in the support document, Edge Secure Network
uses Cloudflare to encrypt the traffic through one of the
world’s largest DNS. Similar to VPN services, Microsoft Edge’s
Cloudflare VPN can prevent online tracking by encrypting the
traffic and keeping your location private.

The internet service provider cannot monitor your activities as
the IP address is replaced by Cloudflare’s and data is routed
through an encrypted tunnel to create a secure connection,
which means the result is a secured web experience even when
browsing a non-secure URL or webpages that start with HTTP or
use untrusted SSL certificates.

Other benefits:

  • Microsoft Edge tracking protection makes it harder for
    hackers to access your browsing data.
  • Prevented data sharing with public Wi-Fi.
  • Your data cannot be linked to your browser as traffic is
    routed through Cloudflare and your IP is masked.

Is Edge Secure Network a replacement for VPN?

While Edge Secure Network serves the original purpose of VPN by
encrypting your data with Cloudflare, it doesn’t offer any form
of proper location protection.

Edge lets you browse the web using a Cloudflare IP address, but
the location is similar to your regional address. That’s
because Cloudflare Warp (which seems to power Edge Secure
Network) wasn’t designed with geo-spoofing in mind.

Edge VPN hands on

As a result, it is not possible to change servers. This means
Edge’s VPN cannot be used to watch Netflix or Prime’s
geo-restricted content, but you can still use it to unlock
services blocked by the ISP.

Edge Secure Network hands on

On the other hand, a full-fledged VPN or VPN extension gives
you greater control over the location and IP address, with most
services offering a huge network of servers to choose from.

Another problem is that users will only get 1 gigabyte of free
data every month and you will need to sync the feature using
your Microsoft Account. This doesn’t make sense as Cloudflare
Warp is a free service.

It’s also unclear if the company is working on any paid plans,
but the support document suggests Microsoft will consider
feedback from users.

Edge’s Secure Network could be a decent solution to prevent or
reduce online tracking, but can it replace your VPN app or
extension? Probably not.

This feature is currently rolling out to Canary users, so if
you want to give it a try as soon as possible, don’t forget to
download Edge Canary and visit the page Edge://vpn.

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