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Network: Connecting to Calvin's Virtual Private Network (VPN)

 

 


 

What is a VPN connection?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A virtual private network is an extension of a company's private network to a machine that is not physically on that network. A VPN can be used to 'virtually' connect a computer to a company's private network through some shared or untrusted network, such as the Internet or public wireless access points. When a VPN is established, a secure communications channel is set-up between your computer and the company's network, and all the communications to the company's network goes through this channel. For Calvin, connecting to our VPN will allow you to 'virtually' be on Calvin's campus, even though you might be at home or half-way across the world!

NOTE:
  • This service is only available to current Calvin faculty and staff.
  • VPN does not work with all Internet connections. 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 your Internet connection or the computer you are using that that CIT is not able to troubleshoot or resolve.

 

Why should I connect to Calvin's VPN?

Some computer networks are not secure by nature, allowing others access to the data you transmit across. By establishing a connection to Calvin's 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 Calvin's network, regardless of the networks you travel over between them. Establishing a connection to Calvin's VPN protects your information as it travels over the Internet, wireless networks, or any other public networks.

Some of CIT's services are only available while on a secured connection to Calvin's network. For example, if you need to use Colleague from off-campus, you must first connect to Calvin's network via the VPN or you will not be able to login.

You should establish a VPN connection to Calvin in these circumstances:

  • You are using any service that has an un-encrypted username or password, such as IMAP or POP3 e-mail.
  • You are working with data that has HIPAA or other privacy concerns.
  • You need to access to on-campus only services when off-campus.
  • You need to map your network drives using a Calvin laptop off-campus.

 

When should I NOT connect to Calvin's VPN?

There are many times when you should not connect to Calvin's VPN. If you are just surfing the Internet, or do not need any access to private resources at Calvin you should NOT establish a VPN connection. Establishing a VPN connection before doing these things just consumes Calvin's Internet bandwidth and other technology resources.

 

How do I set up the VPN connection?

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

 

Can I login to Novell and 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 via the VPN. Follow the steps below to gain access to your network drives. Because the laptop is not plugged directly into Calvin's network, there are more steps to this process than simply logging into the Novell Client window as you would at Calvin.

PCs

1. Login to your computer

When you are not connected to Calvin's network, you will need to do a "local login" (logs into the laptop itself, not your Novell account). If you have Windows XP, check the "Workstation Only" box on the Novell Client login window and enter your Calvin username and passphrase. If you have Windows 7, click the Computer Only Logon option below the username and password field on the Novell Client login window. Then, remove "CALVINAD\[username]" and enter "PC[asset tag number]\[Calvin username]". Your computer's asset tag number is located on the Property of Calvin College sticker (click here for more info).

2. Establish an Internet connection

Once logged in, verify that your laptop is connected to the Internet, either via wireless 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 VPN connection to Calvin's network

Use the instructions above to connect to Calvin's network via the Calvin VPN.

4. Login to Novell

In your computer's System Tray (usually located in the bottom right corner of the screen; the System Tray is the area that shows the date and time), find the icon with the red "N". Right click on the red "N" and choose Novell Login... from the top of the menu. A Novell Client login window should appear. Enter your Calvin username and Calvin passphrase as you normally would when logging into Novell. When the login box and login script disappears, you now have access to your Novell network drives and can open them from the Computer window as you normally would.

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 Calvin's network, we recommend that you save your work often to avoid loss of data due to a dropped connection.

 

Macs

1. Login to your computer

Login to your computer using your normal username and password for the local account.

2. Establish an Internet connection

Once logged in, verify that your laptop is connected to the Internet, either via wireless 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 VPN connection to Calvin's network

Use the instructions above to connect to Calvin's network via the Calvin VPN.

4. Connect to the Novell server

Once you are connected to the Calvin VPN, you can access the Novell servers the same way you would while connected on campus, either by using the shortcuts in your Dock, or going to the Go menu > Connect to server > enter the server name (ex. denali.calvin.edu, acadia.calvin.edu, glacier.calvin.edu) > click Connect > enter your Calvin username and Calvin 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 Calvin's network, we recommend that you save your work often to avoid loss of data due to a dropped connection.

 

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 (note: 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 and setup a new one using the instructions provided above.