VPN (Virtual Private Networking) - Cisco AnyConnect

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?

Not sure which version you're using?

The current Cisco version (AnyConnect)

You're using the current Cisco VPN (AnyConnect) if your icon looks like this:

Windows 8 AnyConnect VPN iconOS X AnyConnect VPN icon

NOTE: If you are using any other VPN besides Cisco AnyConnect, you will need to upgrade your VPN client in order to connect to the CITES VPN server.

Older VPN versions (retired)

Old (Cisco) version

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

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

View the old Cisco interface.

The CITES Nortel VPN

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

Mac version of Nortel iconWindows version of Nortel icon

Aventail SSL VPN

If your VPN software and icons don't look like either of those, you may be using the "SonicWall" or "Aventail" SSL VPN. It offers both a web-based interface and a client with an icon that looks like this:

Beta Aventail icon - Windows

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

How do I upgrade from an old to the new Cisco VPN system?

It's easy! You usually don't need to uninstall the old VPN first. Just don't use it anymore. If it helps you remember, you can delete the old VPN icon.

(Note: If you get an AnyConnect error, you may need to uninstall previous VPN clients.)

To configure your computer to access the new VPN server, visit the Download and Installation page to find the correct installer for your operating system.

Download and Installation

This section provides instructions for University students, faculty, and staff with NetIDs. (Guests can use the same instructions with guest IDs.) You'll choose the operating system of the computer that you'll use to connect and continue from there.

Library Resources and the VPN

Users of the University Library can choose either the VPN's Tunnel All option or the Library Gateway for remote access to secured resources.

For IT pros 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. (Wondering about the IP range for the new VPN system? See the IP range listing file.)

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 Monday, February 16, 2015, 11:15 am