CITES | University of Illinois

VPN for Wireless Users

This page contains information about the benefits of the campus Virtual Private Networking (VPN) system for users of both on-campus wireless networks and off-campus wireless networks.


This page explains why the CITES VPN is required for wireless users to have complete network access and which resources are available to you through the CITES VPN.

Why the CITES VPN is required

CITES requires the use of the CITES VPN when browsing wirelessly in order to protect important University and user information, such as usernames and passwords, from being intercepted.

Wireless networking is inherently less secure than wired networking. With a wired network, information travels through a network cable, and intercepting that information requires effort and equipment. A wireless network allows information to travel through a broad, unrestricted area, where the information can be intercepted from the air by anyone sharing the same access point. The CITES VPN recreates the security of wired networking even while you are using a wireless connection.

UIUCnet QuickConnect is an alternative for wireless network access, but it will only provide a limited online experience.

IllinoisNet, the branch of UIUCnet Wireless which offers encryption as a part of the wireless networking protocol, provides wired-equivalent security but requires a wireless networking card which offers WPA2 support. Not all wireless cards offer this support. IllinoisNet is also not available off campus.

The CITES VPN allows any wireless user to have wired-equivalent security, whether or not their wireless card supports WPA2 encryption. The CITES VPN is also available to off-campus wireless network users in locations with unknown network security levels, such as coffeeshops and hotels.

Resources only available through the CITES VPN

VPN software is automatically built in to most modern operating systems, is simple to use, and provides secure access to a wide range of resources such as campus email, campus web pages, and the rest of the Internet.The CITES VPN also allows two users to share information in encrypted form rather than unencrypted form, making the exchanged information much more difficult to interpret and use by unintended recipients.

Note: Wireless machines are not permitted to share any information with the off-campus community. If you want to run a web server, you should run that web server on a wired machine rather than a wireless one. See the CITES VPN FAQs for more common questions and answers about the CITES VPN.



Last updated Monday, June 2, 2014, 5:18 pm