Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Network & WirelessNetwork & Wireless | virtual private network (vpn)

The Calvin VPN allows faculty and staff to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if that device were directly connected to the Calvin network.
What is a VPN?
Why should I connect to the Calvin VPN?
When should I use the Calvin VPN?
How do I set up the VPN?
Can I access my network drives from off-campus?
VPN Troubleshooting

What is a VPN connection?

A virtual private network (VPN) is an extenstion of a private network to a device that is not physically on that network. The Calvin VPN allows faculty and staff to send and receive data across shared or public networks (such as the Internet) as if that device were directly connected to the Calvin network.

When a VPN is established, a secure communications channel is set-up between your computer and the Calvin network, and all the communication to the Calvin network goes through this channel. Essentially, connecting to our VPN will allow you to 'virtually' be on Calvin's campus, even though you might actually be at home or across the world.

The VPN does not work with all Internet connections. Since the VPN is a virtual connection, it depends on an existing Internet connection from where you are physically located. Connecting to the VPN on a slow connection won't speed up your Internet connection.

If you have followed all the directions for setting up the VPN and it does not work in your current location, there may be issues with the Internet connection or device you are using that CIT is not able to troubleshoot or resolve.

^ top


Why should I connect to the Calvin VPN?

Some networks and Internet connections are not secure by nature, allowing others to potentially access the data you transmit. By establishing a connection to the Calvin VPN you are protecting yourself and Calvin from having confidential data intercepted. A VPN connection is a totally encrypted communications channel between your computer and the Calvin network, regardless of the networks you travel over between them. Establishing a connection to the Calvin VPN protects your Calvin information as it travels over the Internet, wireless networks, or any public network.

Some Calvin services are only available while on a secured connection to the Calvin network. For example, if you need to use Colleague from off-campus, you must first connect to the Calvin network via the VPN. If you try to access Colleague without a connection to the Calvin network or VPN, you will not be able to log in.

^ top


When should I use the Calvin VPN?

You should connect to the Calvin VPN under these circumstances:

  • You are using any service that has an un-encrypted username or password
  • You are working with data that has HIPAA or other privacy concerns
  • You need to access to on-campus-only services while off-campus
  • You need to directly connect to your Calvin network drives using a Calvin laptop off-campus

You should not connect to the Calvin VPN under these circumstances:

  • You are already on-campus at Calvin connected to the wired or wireless network
  • You are browsing the Internet or accessing your Calvin email
  • You do not need access to private or protected resources

^ top


How do I set up the VPN connection?

Please choose the instructions for your operating system from the list below. Operating systems not listed may not support the Calvin VPN connection. To view the VPN configuration instructions, you will need to authenticate using your Calvin username and passphrase when prompted. The VPN configuration instructions linked below are PDF files that can be viewed within your Internet browser or downloaded for later viewing or printing. Only current Calvin faculty and staff have access to the VPN.

^ top


Can I access my network drives from off-campus?

If you are using a Calvin-owned computer, you have the ability to connect to your network drives from off-campus after establishing a connection to the VPN. Follow the steps below to gain access to your network drives. Because your laptop is not directly connected to the Calvin network, there are more steps to this process than simply logging in to the computer as you would while on-campus at Calvin.

Windows computer
  1. Log in to your computer
    • When you are not on-campus at Calvin, you will need to log in locally on your laptop instead of doing a network login.
    • Click Computer Only Logon below the username/password fields on the Windows log in screen. Then, remove CALVINAD\username from the username field and enter instead .\username
    • Log in normally with your Calvin Passphrase.
  2. Connect to the Internet
    • Once you are logged in, verify that your device is connected to the Internet, either via a wireless network or a wired connection. How you connect and what setup is required depends on the provider. For example, if you are traveling and using Internet at a hotel, please refer to the hotel's instructions for connecting.
  3. Establish a connection to the Calvin VPN
  4. Connect to the Calvin network
    • In the System Tray (typically located in the bottom right corner next to the date and time display), right-click the OES Network icon OES icon then choose OES Login... from the top of the menu. A network login window will appear on your screen. Enter your Calvin username and passphrase to connect to your network drives.

Note: Any hiccup in your Internet connection or connection to the Calvin VPN will result in a loss of connection to your network drives. If you experience a drop in connection, verify that you are still connected to the VPN and repeat this step. Any time you are not directly connected to the Calvin network, we recommend that you save your work often to avoid loss of data due to a dropped connection.

macOS computer
  1. Log in to your computer normally using your username as password for your local account.
  2. Connect to the Internet
    • Once you are logged in, verify that your device is connected to the Internet, either via a wireless network or a wired connection. How you connect and what setup is required depends on the provider. For example, if you are traveling and using Internet at a hotel, please refer to the hotel's instructions for connecting.
  3. Establish a connection to the Calvin VPN
  4. Connect to the Calvin network
    • Once you are connected to the Calvin VPN, you can access the network drives the same way you would while connected on campus.
    • While in the Finder, click Go > Connect to server > enter the server name (denali for the Department (R) drive, acadia for your personal (H) drive, glacier, sequoia, rushmore, etc.) > click Connect > enter your Calvin username and passphrase.

Note: Any hiccup in your Internet connection or connection to the Calvin VPN will result in a loss of connection to your network drives. If you experience a drop in connection, verify that you are still connected to the VPN and repeat this step. Any time you are not directly connected to the Calvin network, we recommend that you save your work often to avoid loss of data due to a dropped connection.

^ top


I am not able to connect to the VPN, what should I do?

  1. Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet. Open up a web browser, go to www.google.com and verify that you can search for Calvin College (your computer may indicate that it is "connected" to a network, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is connected to the Internet).
  2. Verify that the Internet connection you are on allows a VPN connection. Some networks may not have this capability, or may only allow a limited number of VPN connections at a time.
  3. Be sure to enter your Calvin username and passphrase correctly. If you have changed your passphrase or suspect this may be the issue, you may want to remove your Calvin VPN connection then set it up again.
  4. If at any time the Calvin VPN is not working, the first thing to try is to remove the VPN connection from your computer then set it up again. CIT is unable to troubleshoot many VPN issues as they are often related to a personal computer or other network that are outside of Calvin.
  5. The VPN does not work with all Internet connections. Since the VPN is a virtual connection, it depends on an existing Internet connection from where you are physically located. Connecting to the VPN on a slow connection will not speed up your Internet connection.

^ top