Microsoft will be retiring IE on June 15. The company has shifted its focus to maintaining and developing the Chromium-based Edge browser. Microsoft rolls out new Edge features fairly often, though some of them may be of somewhat questionable value.
The latest feature coming to Windows’ default browser is what seems to be a VPN contained within the browser. The official documentation never uses the term VPN and instead refers to the feature as the Microsoft Edge Secure Network.
Microsoft touts three main advantages of its Edge Secure Network: encryption, online tracking prevention, and location privacy.
Edge Secure Network establishes an encrypted tunnel to create a more secure connection that will help protect against hackers snooping on users’ browsing data when connected to a shared network. Encrypting web traffic will also block internet service providers from collecting browsing data. Edge Secure Network will mask users’ IP addresses by replacing them with similar regional addresses
One downside of the Microsoft Edge Secure Network compared to a traditional VPN is that it is restricted to activity within Microsoft Edge. None of the benefits listed above will extend to connections made outside Microsoft Edge, whereas a traditional VPN offers those same benefits system or even network-wide.
Microsoft Edge Secure Network will be available for now as a preview feature with limited bandwidth. In order to enable the feature, users will have to sign into their Microsoft Accounts. Once enabled, users will be limited to just 1GB of data per month, which is quite limiting. Users streaming or downloading video in Edge might hit that cap in less than a day. Fortunately, it appears that this limitation is only temporary as Microsoft tests out the feature.
Microsoft is offering this new feature in collaboration with Cloudflare, which is providing the secure remote proxy.