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When you are working off campus, UVM requires a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection to secure access to many on-campus computing resources, like the CHWB Share folders or the PnC electronic health record system. The VPN encrypts everything between here and there so that passwords, protected health information and other important data stays in the right hands.
Yeah, okay, so what’s new?
Here’s what: UVM is phasing out the traditional Cisco VPN client (icon seen on the left) in lieu of a more streamlined approach.
In fact, if you start up the traditional VPN software these days, odds are you’ll see an ominous warning that says “This VPN is being removed from service in the near future.”
Luckily, there is a new way of doing things. The next time you need to make a VPN connection, just open a web browser–like Firefox or Internet Explorer–and go here:
After logging on with your NetID and password you’ll be prompted to install the “Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client” on your computer.
After the AnyConnect client is installed, just sign in at https://sslvpn.uvm.edu to fire up a VPN session. It’s pretty easy.
What the heck is a VPN anyway?
VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network.” When you connect to UVM with a VPN client, you are basically creating a tunnel between your computer and the resources you are connecting to. Even though a VPN uses a very public network (the internet) to make this connection, the data streams are protected in such a way that they might as well be travelling through a single, highly secure, dedicated wire. Virtually like using your own private network.
Progress! Less than a year ago you couldn’t access the on-campus wireless network without first initiating a VPN (Virtual Private Network) session.
The VPN ensured that your passwords and other data were encrypted as they flew through the air, but the VPN software was cumbersome, slow, and not necessarily available for your groovy new handheld device.
Well, all of this has changed—did you know? (Truth is, I’m a little late in breaking this news.)
From most on-campus locations, your wireless-capable laptop or other mobile thingie should now detect a network called "UVM". Joining this network will require a few minutes of (one-time)setup, but after that your laptop or handheld device will automatically sign onto "UVM" when the network is in range—no VPN required.
To set up your device, follow the instructions listed below, based on your version of Windows or type of device:
- Configuring UVM Wireless on Windows Vista and Windows 7 (choose “The Easy Way”)
- UVM Enterprise Wireless on Mobile Devices
Oh—I guess I should point out that your data will still travel safely through the air now too. It’s just encrypted differently than it used to be. So go ahead and roam with impunity.