CITES | University of Illinois

Virtual Private Networking (VPN)

This page contains information about the campus Virtual Private Networking (VPN) system, which allows authenticated access to University of Illinois computing resources from any location.


Virtual Private Networking (VPN) systems are used to create a secure connection between one computer and another computer or network.

When you have a VPN connection established, it's like you have a personal network cable running from your computer to an on-campus location, regardless of where you are or whether you're using physical cables at all.

A VPN connection also helps prevent data theft (such as passwords or credit card numbers) when you're connecting from wireless or remote locations.

You'll find the VPN most helpful when you're not on campus, including:

  • Using off-campus wireless services (coffee shops, etc)
  • Telecommuting from your home or from remote locations
  • Studying abroad

Want to know which VPN you have?

Before Spring 2007, everyone was using the Cisco VPN system. However, the Cisco VPN is no longer supported by Cisco itself, so CITES has been migrating users to a different system.

Now CITES is primarily using a VPN system provided by Nortel, with simpler software and simpler connections.

Not sure which version you're using?

Old (Cisco) version

You're using the old (Cisco) VPN if your software uses icons that look like this:

Mac version of Cisco IconWindows version of Cisco iconWindows version of Cisco logo

The old (Cisco) VPN interface looks like this image.

Current (CITES / Nortel) version

You're using the current (CITES / Nortel) VPN if your software uses icons that look like this:

Mac version of Nortel iconWindows version of Nortel icon

If you need to contact the CITES Help Desk, it'll be helpful to tell them which VPN system you're using.

If you still have the Cisco system installed, you don't need to uninstall it before you upgrade. Just delete the Cisco icon from your desktop, follow the new CITES VPN configuration steps, and use the new system instead!

Getting started

Campus users with NetIDs use a different method of connecting to the CITES VPN than guest users do.

Students, faculty, and staff

This section provides instructions for regular campus users -- students, faculty, and staff -- with NetIDs. You'll choose the operating system of the computer that you'll use to connect and continue from there.

Guest account users

This section provides information for campus guests who have temporary guest accounts from a department, conference, or sponsor.

IT professionals and network administrators

This section is for IT professionals who offer wireless or walkup networking in their departments and/or support off-campus and guest VPN users.

About the VPN system

The information in these sections is for users who wish to understand the VPN network in more detail, including campus system and network administrators. You don't need this information to get started, but it will help you understand what you're doing and why.

Last updated Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 2:38 pm