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
Accessing an Office Computer
You can access an office computer using the VPN client using one of two methods. Method A involves signing into Valpo's VPN web client using the instructions above, then creating a "bookmark" to your computer.
- First you need to ensure that remote access is enabled on your office PC.
- On a Windows PC, open File Explorer and right-click on "This PC", then click Properties. In the resulting window, click the "Remote settings" item from the panel on the left. Under the Remote Desktop heading, click the circle labeled "Allow remote connections to this computer" and check the box titled "Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended)".
- On a Mac, download and install the Apple Remote Desktop app, following the tutorial here: https://setapp.com/how-to/how-to-access-your-mac-remotely
- Once remote desktop functionality is enabled on the computer you want to access, you can log into it from any computer with an internet connection. Browse to https://vpn.valpo.edu/ and log in with your Valpo credentials.
- At the bottom of the page, click on the "Create a new bookmark" text or the plus sign next to it.
- Complete the fields as follows:
- Bookmark Name: A name of your choosing—this could be "Office Computer" or something to help you identify it
- Name or IP Address: This is the most important field, as it is what the VPN client will use to identify which computer to sign in to. You must have permissions to log in to the computer you specify here. You automatically inherit the necessary permissions to log in to your office PC, but if you need to log into additional computers, a request will need to be submitted to and approved by the IT department.
- Description: This optional field allows you to provide more detail about the connection
- Tabs: Leave this field blank
- Service (drop-down menu): Change this value to "Terminal Services (RDP)" under the Desktop heading (NOTE: once you change this option, additional fields will appear; leave them all blank)
- Leave the "Automatically log in" box checked, along with the option called Use SSL VPN account credentials; Check the box next to the option called Use Login Domain for SSO
- Click OK to create the connection to your office computer. You can now click the link with the name you assigned to access your office computer from any computer with an internet connection!
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.
Instructions for Windows 10: Use VPN on Windows 10
Instructions for MacOS: Use VPN on MacOS
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?