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Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Off-Campus Access

About

The Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client may be used to create a virtual private network (VPN) connection between your computer or mobile device and the Drexel network. This VPN connection provides secure access to restricted computing resources such as file servers, restricted web pages and applications available on the Drexel network. 

IRT only supports Cisco's AnyConnect client software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.  VPN support using alternative VPN client software or running on other operating systems platforms, while available, are considered "unsupported".  It is expected that users opting to run alternative operating systems or vpn software are sufficiently familiar with their respective platform to be self-supporting. 

Get AnyConnect VPN

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to use a VPN?

Today we routinely access resources on the Drexel network wirelessly via Dragonfly and off-network via Internet Service Providers. Both of these methods increase the risk that private data might be intercepted by others. Making University resources available to you at home also makes them more accessible to viruses, worms and other internet-borne theats like hacking and denial of service (DoS) attacks. Fortunately, using a VPN provides a safe way for you to access these resources remotely.

How does VPN work?

VPNs have one function: to securely communicate data between two places. A VPN does this by inserting itself between your computer and the ones that you want to communicate with. All of the data leaving your machine gets encrypted and redirected to a VPN server. The VPN server decrypts the data and sends it to the computer that you originally addressed. Responses from that computer go back to the VPN server for encryption and transmission back to you.

vpn model illustration

  1. Authorization ensures that only trusted hosts can gain network access.
  2. If a computer has not logged in with the VPN gateway, the connection is denied.
  3. If a computer provides authorization credentials such as a password and pre-shared secret, the VPN gateway adds the computer to its list of computers allowed to connect.
  4. Encryption defeats interception of traffic by scrambling data.

Once authorized, a computer can use encryption to prevent digital eavesdropping by any in-between points on the Internet, including unauthorized hosts.

How do I report a problem?

If you have problems installing the VPN software, contact the IRT Help Desk (consult@drexel.edu, 215-895-2020). For a quick response, please provide as much detail as possible; include specific information such as what version of Windows or Mac OSX you are using and the exact text of any error messages or dialog boxes that appear when you try to install or use the VPN client. Emails stating "VPN doesn't install" are not helpful.

What operating systems does AnyConnect support?

AnyConnect supports the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP1 or SP2, Windows 2000 SP4, Linux (RedHat Linux 9, RedHat Enterprise Linux 3, SUSE Linux 10, Slackware 11.0, or Fedora 4 or 6), or Mac OS X 10.4 and up.

The AnyConnect automated installation process has been tested in the following web browsers: Internet Explorer 7 (32-bit), Internet Explorer 8 (32-bit), Firefox 3.6.2 and up, and Safari 4.0.5 and up. It may work in some versions of Chrome and Opera, but it's recommended that you use a confirmed browser. 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer are not currently supported.

You may need to add this web page into your list of trusted sites, as described below. This is required for Windows 7 and Vista, and recommended for all.

Do I have to install Java Runtime or ActiveX if I am prompted to do so?

Some operating systems make use of Sun Microsystems' Java Runtime environment to perform the automated installation. If you do not have version 1.4 or higher of the JRE installed on your system you will be prompted to download and install it. Follow the on-screen instructions that are provided to do this.

Some Windows PCs will require the installation of additional ActiveX components to complete the installation. If necessary, follow the on-screen instructions to add them.

Do I need to add VPN to my trusted sites?

If you're using Internet Explorer 7.0 or later on Windows 7 or Vista, it may be necessary for you to add the VPN page to your list of trusted sites. If you're using a different OS or browser it's not necessary, but it's helpful because it eliminates extra security pop-ups when you connect.

To add the security appliance to Internet Explorer's trusted sites:

  1. Open Internet Explorer and choose Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click the Trusted Sites icon, then click the Sites button below.
  4. Type the URL https://vpn.drexel.edu in the Trusted Sites window.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click OK on the Security tab.

I've had difficulty with the automated installation - are there alternatives?

If you're unable to complete the automated installation process that's built into this web page, you can download and run a standalone AnyConnect installer package from the following locations. Download and double-click the appropriate package to begin installation.

How do I use the VPN browser (also called WebVPN)?

WebVPN is a feature of this VPN service that allows internal Drexel web sites to be viewed without the need for installing or running the VPN client software.

To use WebVPN, simply log into the SSL VPN Service page, enter the web site's URL in the Address area at the top of the page, and click Browse. Be aware that some pages might not display all of their content properly when using WebVPN. If you're unable to read or interact with the content on a page when viewing it via WebVPN, it's recommended that you download and run the AnyConnect client instead.

Why does my internet connection seem slower?

There is some loss of network performance while connected via VPN. This is a result of the encryption/decryption process between your computer and the computer to which you are connecting. While this doesn't tie up a lot of time or system resources, there can be a noticeable difference in network speed.