Q. What is a VPN?
A. VPN (virtual private network) is a means to connect a computer (or group of computers at a remote site) to the University network in a secure (encrypted) and authenticated (password protected) manner.
Q. What operating systems are supported?
A. Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, 7, 8 and Mac OS X 10 only. We do not recommend using the software with any version of windows less than Windows 98 2nd Edition. Most success has been with Windows XP and Windows 7.
Q. What about Macintosh OS 7, 8 or 9?
A. Due to design and stability problems, there will never be software made available to support older versions of the MacOS.
Q. What VPN client software is supported?
A. The University is using the Cisco VPN client. Mac OS X users can use their computer's built in VPN client.
Q. Where can I download the software?
A. The software is available for download from the VPN Webpage. You need to have a valid University account to access this section of the web site.
Q. How do I use the VPN software on my PC?
A. Please follow the three phases of installation, configuration and connection. You should only need to perform Phase 1 (Install) and Phase 2 (Configure) once each, but you need to perform Phase 3 (Connect) each and every time you need to use University resources via VPN. Please note that you must be connected to the Internet before starting the VPN software.
Q. What username and password do I use?
A. You use your University IT account username and password. If you have forgotten your password contact the Service Desk on (03) 6226 1818. This is the same username and password used to access MyLO, Webmail, eStudent and University computers.
Q. It does not accept my password!
A. If you are sure you have it correct, or it used to work in the past, your enrolment status at the University may have changed, and your access may have been automatically removed. This can happen between semesters, and especially during January/February during busy periods of re-enrolment. Check your enrolment/employment status with HR/Student Admin. Access should be restored overnight, once you are again a member of the University. If your enrolment/employment details are confirmed to be up to date, please contact the UTAS Service Desk on (03) 6226 1818 for further assistance.
Q. What IP address will I get when I connect?
A. The system will allocate you an address from the range 188.8.131.52 to 184.108.40.206. This should not cause a problem unless your system administrator has closed access to your servers from subnets outside your building.
Q. Can I still get to other internet sites?
A. Yes. The VPN Client software will only encrypt data destined for the Campus Networks, all other traffic will be untouched. However, it is recommended that you do not leave the VPN software connected as this will slow your access to the internet. Only connect with the VPN software when you need to access a resource that requires the secure VPN connection.
Q. I'm having trouble accessing my local computers
A. It is likely that the VPN client will disable access to local network resource like local computers and printers on your home or business network. This is part of the firewalling built into the software to protect both your computer, and the University from attack by other computers. Once you disconnect from the university VPN, your local access should return.
Q. I have connected successfully, but cannot access my files!
A. The VPN software provides the same level of access as provided by a simple computer sitting on a desk anywhere on campus. To access your files they would need to be stored in a shared folder. This is recommended as it will also allow you to access your files from multiple computers, not just one. All staff and students have a personal shared drive that can be used for this.
Q. How fast is it?
A. This will depend entirely on your internet connection and the connection from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to the university network. Due to the encryption and tunnelling systems there is a small amount of extra information that is sent with all your traffic, so generally a VPN connection will be slightly slower than your usual internet connection. The VPN equipment at the University can handle hundreds of VPN users at a time.
Q. Why does my connection drop out after a while?
A. There is a 30 minute "idle" timeout. You must use the connection at least once every thirty minutes, or it will automatically close.
Q. I wish to use the VPN software from a Tasmanian Government location.
A. Unfortunately, this cannot be done. Due to government policy, it is not possible to use any VPN software from any area of the Tasmanian State Government that uses "Networking Tasmania" for network access. This includes all departments and agencies, public schools, hospitals, and NT dial-up services. If you require access to internal University resource as part of your daily work from one of these areas, please contact IT Services to discuss your situation.
Q. Do I have to use the software each time I want to access the University?
If you want to have basic access to the University, just like a normal Internet user, the the answer is NO. If you want to access internal resources like you can from any computer on campus, then the answer is Yes.
Q. What about Personal Firewalls or Internet Connection Sharing?
A. The software might not be compatible with personal firewalls or Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). You should uninstall or disable these programs before installing the software, and do not install or re-enable them afterwards. The software should warn you if it detects these types of programs during the install process.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Recent versions of the Cisco client have become more compatible with personal firewalls, and they in turn more compatible with the Cisco software. It is now feasible to install the Cisco client without disabling your firewall, but be prepared to disable it if you have connections problems, to see if the firewall is causing you problems. If you have Windows XP Service Pack2 (SP2) we recommend leaving the integrated firewall ON at all times.