VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Virtual Private Network  (VPN) is a secure way to connect to Western's network from home or while traveling. You need an existing internet connection before you can connect to our VPN server. VPN is useful for the following situations:

  • Some campus servers and resources require a VPN connection if you want to access them from off-campus.. Mapped network drives are the most common example. You do not need to use VPN to access Canvas, your Western email, OneDrive, or other Office 365 apps.
    View a list of services that require VPN from off-campus.
  • If you are using a public Wi-Fi connection from somewhere like a hotel, cafe, foreign country, or airport, however, connecting to our VPN will add an additional layer of security, so you may want to connect to our VPN even if it is possible to access the services you need without it.
  • Some secure resources require VPN even when you are on campus, but only a small number of staff need VPN for this purpose.

Installation

Standard VPN Access from Off-Campus

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

  1. 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.
  2. When prompted, enter your Universal username and password.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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 fill out this VPN Access Esign form. Once your Esign form has been locked you can install the VPN client from the following location (Note that it is different from Standard VPN):

  1. Install VPN using this link: https://securevpn.wwu.edu.
  2. When prompted, enter your Universal username and password.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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: securevpn.wwu.edu

securevpn.wwu.edu vs remotevpn.wwu.edu: What's the difference?

  • Both VPN services are secure. The difference is that all faculty and staff already have access to remotevpn.wwu.edu, so it is not a service that needs to be requested. It will work only from off-campus.
  • securevpn.wwu.edu works from both off-campus and on-campus, and must be requested. This service is the only one that provides access to services that require Admin VPN access. It is also the service that students who have been granted VPN access should use.

Student Access to VPN

For Spring 2020: All students now have access to use https://remotevpn.wwu.edu. Students who were previously given access to VPN should now use remotevpn.wu.edu instead of securevpn.wwu.edu.

Full Tunnel or Split Tunnel?

The following option is available only for securevpn.wwu.edu

Screenshot of prompt to select full tunnel or split tunnel

  • Generally you want to select Full Tunnel so all of your network traffic is encrypted by the VPN. 
  • 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 securevpn.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 or securevpn.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.
  • Avoid sensitive transactions like online banking and accessing any site where you need to provide personal information (e.g., passwords, SSN, date of birth) over public Wi-Fi.
  • Any service that you sign into using a Web browser should use encryption. Sites that use encryption are those that begin with https:// instead of http:// (note the “s” after “http”). An example is https://login.microsoftonline.com used for Office 365.