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Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Off-Campus Access

Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client


The Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client software is used to establish a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) between your off-campus computer or mobile device and the campus network in order to grant you access to restricted computing resources at Drexel such as file servers, databases, web sites, and privileged applications.   

Drexel IT only provides support for Cisco's AnyConnect Mobility Client software for Windows, Mac, iOS and selected Android devices. Cisco provides AnyConnect Mobility Client software for many other operating systems.

Note: VPN connection at Drexel requires Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). See more information on our MFA Setup page.

Get AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client For Your Operating System

Drexel IT-Supported Clients

Self-Supported Clients

To  maintain the highest level of security, use of alternative/third-party VPN client software is discouraged and "unsupported."


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 (, 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 10 and up, Linux (RedHat 7.x and 8.x, Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04, SUSE [limited]), Mac OS 10.14 and up.

The AnyConnect automated installation process has been tested in the following web browsers: Internet Explorer 11, Firefox 45 and up, and Safari 7 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 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 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.

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.