IT uses a system from SonicWall to provide Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology. This tool establishes a secure connection through an otherwise insecure or untrusted network, and extends certain protected network features of the local network to remote or mobile devices.
The VPN has three methods of access, web-based Bookmarks, SonicWall NetExtender, and SonicWall Mobile Connect. Bookmarks are designed to provide access to individual resources (similar to browser bookmarks), while the NetExtender client and Mobile Connect app provide full network access, as if you were physically located on campus. For example:
- The "Valpo Intra website" bookmark provides a way to connect to resources like Campus Chronicle without the burden of multiple logins
- With the SonicWall NetExtender client installed, a Windows PC or a Mac will behave the way it would if it were connected to the Valpo network
- After installing the Mobile Connect app, it runs as a background process in either iOS or Android OS; there's no need to first login through the website
This webpage gives a good overview of what VPN service is, and how it works: https://www.sans.org/security-awareness-training/resources/virtual-private-networks-vpns
Accessing Secure Websites
This VPN client is configured by IT staff to allow you access to Valpo's secure websites and encrypts your activity.
- Connect your computer to an internet connection
- Point your web browser to: vpn.valpo.edu
- At the login page, enter your ValpoNet credentials, select "valpo" in the Domain drop down list, then click "login"
- You may need to enter your username in this format: valpo\username
- You're now connected and can securely access websites
- The Bookmarks list offers quick access to more commonly-used secure websites
VPN is Valpo-only
Valpo's VPN system will only encrypt your connections to other Valpo systems. In order to protect your other online activities, you may wish to subscribe to a paid public VPN service.
Accessing the Full Network
This VPN client allows you to access to Valpo's network resources that aren't web-based, such as network file servers and campus printers. This option requires you to install a small software application on your computer. You should only need to install it once; thereafter, you will only need to login.
Below are the steps for installing the SonicWall NetExtender client, which is the primary software tool that works with Valpo's VPN:
- Go to https://vpn.valpo.edu and select valpo from the drop-down box under "Domain." Then, click NEXT and login with your ValpoNet credentials.
- After logging in from within the Virtual Office VPN page, click on your account initials in the upper right hand corner to bring up the menu. From here, select "Downloads."
- Select "Windows.exe" for Windows 10 or "Mac.dmg" for the MacOS client. Depending on your browser it will either prompt you to download it to a location or automatically download it.
- After the download start the installation from the downloaded file named "NXSetupU.exe"
- After the installation, when you start NextExtender and run it for the first time, you will need to enter vpn.valpo.edu for the Server and valpo for the domain.
- Authenticate with your ValpoNet credentials to connect to the VPN. A successful connection will be indicated by the "Nx" symbol in the taskbar as shown below:
Note: If you close NetExtender it will simply minimize it to the taskbar and will stay connected.
Remember to click Disconnect when you are done using the VPN and do not leave it connected while not using your computer for longer periods of time.
While the above steps will allow you to access the VPN consistently, you might find that there are other methods that are more convenient for you to use. Below are links to articles with detailed instructions on how to use the mobile version of SonicWall which works well on tablets, phones, and other devices that might benefit from a VPN connection. We cannot guarantee, however, that these other applications will work with the consistency that the SonicWall NetExtender software provides.
Instructions for using SonicWall Mobile Connect on Windows 10: Use VPN on Windows 10
Instructions for using SonicWall Mobile Connect on MacOS: Use VPN on MacOS
You can also access your office computer using the appropriate VPN tutorial above (either for Windows or for Mac), then creating a remote desktop connection to your PC. To access your office PC through the VPN web client without installing a VPN desktop client, follow the steps in this tutorial: Remotely Log in to Office PC using VPN Web Client.
If you're having trouble connecting and nothing is working, you may wish to try uninstalling the Sonicwall software, then re-downloading and re-installing it.
You may also wish to try deleting the existing connection and creating a new one.
Still need help?