Microsoft Secure Network VPN enters limited preview in Edge Canary

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Microsoft Secure Network VPN enters limited preview in Edge Canary

We reported on the Microsoft Secure Network a few weeks ago, when it was spotted on the company’s support website. The free VPN has officially entered a limited access preview on Edge Canary.

Microsoft announced the news on its Edge Insider Blog, and highlighted its importance.

What is Microsoft Secure Network?

According to Microsoft, the VPN is meant to protect users’ privacy when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, also known as hotspots, which are available in airports, libraries, hotels, cafes, etc. Secure Network works with Cloudflare and encrypts your network connection to mask your device’s IP address and location, to prevent your ISP from snooping on your internet habits and profiling you to deliver targeted ads, and to stop malicious attacks.

Microsoft says that users who access the secure network during the preview phase will be able to use 1GB of bandwidth for free, with the limit resetting every month. The feature may be announced as a premium service in the future.

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How to enable Microsoft Secure Network?

Open Edge Dev Canary and click on the three-dot menu button. The Secure Network entry should appear below the “Read Aloud” item in the menu. The feature is being A/B tested, so don’t be surprised if you don’t have the Secure Network option available in Edge Canary. The current browser version is 103.0.1255.0.

You should note that using the feature requires you to sign in to your Microsoft account to authenticate the service, and you will also need to accept the Cloudflare account. Privacy Policy. As Martin mentioned in his article, Cloudflare will store “limited diagnostic data” on its servers for 25 hours before deleting it.

People normally use a VPN to hide their real IP address and location, surely Microsoft Secure Network can do it. But that’s not the only thing a VPN should do, right?

What the Microsoft Secure Network can’t do

Many users rely on VPNs to bypass restrictions imposed by their ISP or government, to access content that is otherwise unavailable in their country. Microsoft’s secure network connects to local Cloudflare servers, meaning the servers are located in the same region as the user. That means you can’t get around geographic restrictions imposed by websites and services, or other forms of censorship in your area, to access blocked content. For example, if Spotify or Netflix are not available in your country, you cannot access them with the Microsoft VPN.

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Microsoft’s tone is clear, it clearly says that the Secure Network is to allow access to local services without compromising your privacy. Makes sense, but there are better alternatives out there. I see it as a more user-friendly way to protect users, without the need for a separate extension or program, which you may need to configure manually. So this could be useful for the average user.

The 1GB data limit set by the Secure Network probably isn’t enough for streaming videos, it could burn you through pretty quickly. But, you really can’t expect much from free VPN services. As far as I know, ProtonVPN is the only provider that offers free unlimited usage on all platforms, albeit with limited servers, but that’s a really hard deal to beat.

Image courtesy: Microsoft.

What do you think about Microsoft Secure Network?

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