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VPN Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is VPN?
    • VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a way of connecting a computer (or group of computers) in a remote location to the Wesleyan network in a secure (encrypted) and authenticated (password-protected) manner.
  • Why is VPN necessary?
    • In view of recent virus and security threats, Wesleyan is making many of its systems more secure. This is done through a Firewall - a collection of hardware and software that checks all incoming network traffic from outside of Wesleyan and only allows certain types of data to pass through. Increasingly, fewer types of data are allowed through to reduce the threat of malicious attacks on our systems. However, legitimate members of the Wesleyan community need a safe and secure way to access these systems from home. VPN gives them this capability. It also makes all of their communications more secure since all data to and from the home computer is encrypted and cannot be 'sniffed' or captured by unscrupulous individuals.
  • How do I know if I need VPN?
    • The first factor is your location - If you are connecting to the Wesleyan network from your home computer or from other off-campus locations you may need VPN in order to access certain Wesleyan computer systems. Also, campus locations which connect to the Wesleyan network over a DSL or Cable Modem connection (such as the wood-frame houses) may also need VPN since our systems do not recognize these connections as part of the Wesleyan network.

      The second factor is which computer system you need to access - VPN will be required for the following functions:

      • Access to all Wesleyan Administrative Systems (SFIS, HR, Millennium, FRS, etc.)
      • File sharing not performed via SFTP
      • A Remote Control connection to a campus computer (XP Remote Control, PC Anywhere, VNC, etc.)
      • Login to the Wesleyan Domain
      • Access to security-restricted web pages

      Please contact the Help Desk (x4000) or your Desktop Support Specialist if you have a question about access to a specific system.

  • What can I access from home without VPN?
      • Wesleyan e-mail
      • The Wesleyan home page, http://www.wesleyan.edu/
      • Your e-Porfolio
      • Other unrestricted Wesleyan web pages
      • The Library systems
      • Files stored Dragon or Condor via SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol)

      Although VPN is not required for these functions, using VPN will make your activities more secure. Please contact the Help Desk (x4000) or your Desktop Support Specialist if you have a question about a specific system.

  • What kind of network connection do I need to use VPN?
    • VPN will work best over a DSL or Cable Modem connection, but it can also be used over a dial-up ISP connection. If you have DSL or a Cable Modem, you are always connected to the Internet and can launch the VPN software at any time. If you connect to an ISP over a standard dial-up modem, you would establish your dial-up connection to your ISP first, then launch the VPN software to connect to Wesleyan.

      VPN is NOT required if you dial into the Wesleyan Modem Pool. When you dial into the Modem Pool you have a direct connection to the Wesleyan network, just as though you were on campus. However, this provides a relatively slow network connection which may not be adequate for many functions.

  • How do I know if VPN will run on my computer?
    • The VPN software works with Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP, and Windows 7, Intel-based Mac OS X, and Linux.
  • What if I have an older (non-Intel based) Mac?
    • Non-Intel based Macs must use the older IPsec based client. Users may download the client directly or ask Helpdesk or a Desktop Support Specialist for assistance with setting this up.
  • What if I have problems installing or using VPN?
    • Some home Anti-Virus and Firewall products, such as Norton Internet Security, may block the install or VPN login causing it to fail. You can disable these products when you are installing AnyConnect the first time. After installation, you should enable your personal firewall to allow AnyConnect to run.  

      If you run into problems, the Help Desk (x4000) or your Desktop Support Specialist will be able to help you with basic questions. If you are unable to get VPN to work, we recommend that you bring your computer to the Computer Service Center on the ground floor of Exley where they can install and configure the software and test your connection. They also can offer advice and support for other aspects of Home Networking.