VPN (Virtual Private Network)

What is a virtual private network?

A virtual private network  (VPN) is a secure way to connect to Western's network and resources from home or while traveling. You need an existing internet connection before you can connect to our VPN server.

Some Western resources will require the use of the VPN to access from off-campus. A list of these resources can be located on the Do you need a VPN webpage.

You do not need to use the VPN to access Canvas, your Western email, OneDrive, or other Office 365 apps.


Standard VPN Access from Off-Campus

Faculty, staff, and students can use this service from off-campus.

  1. Request permission to use our VPN: Request VPN Access - Help Desk - Jira Service Management (atlassian.net)
  2. Configure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on your Western account. VPN Access will require MFA be configured. Configuration instructions can be found on on Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for WWU Universal Accounts | ATUS | Western Washington University
  3. Install VPN from off-campus using this link: https://remotevpn.wwu.edu.
    • This website is not accessible from Western's wired or wireless networks. Currently, Microsoft Edge (non-Chromium-based) does not load the installer correctly on or off of campus, so using Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chromium-based Edge or Safari is advised.
  4. When prompted, enter your Universal username and password.
  5. After you sign in, Windows and macOS users will be presented with a download button for the Cisco AnyConnect client.
    • Chromebook users will need to get the Cisco AnyConnect client from the Chrome Web Store, iOS users can get it from the Apple App Store, and Android users can get it from the Google Play Store. 
  6. After installation, the client will automatically start and connect to WWU. Later, you can access the client by going to:
    • Windows: Start > Programs > Cisco
    • Mac: Applications > Cisco
    • When you click the Connect button, the client should connect automatically to the WWU VPN server. If the "Connect to" field is blank, enter the address of the VPN server: remotevpn.wwu.edu

Administrative Services VPN (Admin VPN)

Faculty and staff who need to access to services listed in the Admin VPN section of our Do you need VPN? page need to submit a request describing the Admin VPN resource(s) that you require on the following form: Request VPN Access - Help Desk - Jira Service Management (atlassian.net). Once you are approved, you can use the same VPN client as standard users with the elevated permissions granted by that form. 

Full Tunnel or Split Tunnel?

As of October 2021, you can select either Full or Split tunnel MFA by using the following VPN Addresses in the Cisco AnyConnect address box:

  • Full Tunnel: remotevpn.wwu.edu/fullmfa
  • Split Tunnel: remotevpn.wwu.edu/splitmfa

By default, it will use Split Tunnel as it provides the best performance across most scenarios

When should I use Full vs. Split tunnel connections?

  • When you are traveling or on potentially unknown networks, you generally want to select Full Tunnel so all of your network traffic is encrypted by the VPN. 
  • When you are at home, Split-Tunnel is often the better option. Split Tunnel allows you to communicate with other devices on your local network, like networked printers. This option encrypts only the traffic between you and WWU systems.
    • If you are using software like Windows Remote Desktop to connect to your office computer from off-campus (or other remote computer like a laptop), you can use either split or full tunnel from the off-campus computer. If you remote into your office computer and need to use VPN on that computer (required for ODBC connections to databases behind our firewall) you must select Split Tunnel on your office/campus computer. 

Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client Updates

If you connect to remotevpn.wwu.edu using an outdated Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility client for Mac OS-X or Windows, the client will automatically exit if an update exists. Then the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client Downloader will automatically download and install the updated client. Once the update completes, the VPN client should automatically connect. The process should take no more than a few minutes, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

You may be asked if you want to allow Cisco Secure Desktop - Hostscan Launch Utility to make changes to your computer. Click the Yes button, along with your password, if required.

Connecting to Resources

Once connected, you can connect to your network drives, use Outlook, or run Remote Desktop to access your office computer. See instructions on mapping network drives.

Mobile Devices

The free Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client is available for iOS and Android. 

  1. Install the app
  2. Make sure you are connected to the Internet and then open the AnyConnect app and add a VPN connection to the following Server Address: remotevpn.wwu.edu
  3. Enable the AnyConnect VPN by sliding the switch from left to right.
  4. Enter your Western Universal Username and Password as you would enter it for myWestern.
  5. You will see a VPN icon next to the Wifi (or cellular data) icon on your device. 

Important Considerations

  • VPN is a shared resource with limited connections. Please make sure that you disconnect when not using this resource.
  •  Our remote access VPN client will not work correctly on your home network if your home network uses 10.x.x.x IP addresses, because those addresses are used on the WWU network too.
  • The remote access VPN client may not work correctly on your personal computer if you are using MacAfee, AVG, or other antivirus programs that include a custom firewall. For Windows users, we recommend the Microsoft Defender antivirus client that comes pre-installed on all Windows computers.