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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Virtual Private Networking

Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/its/vpn/

About Minnesota State University, Mankato VPN

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VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a direct and secure way to remotely connect to Minnesota State Mankato's campus network. VPN allows your computer to access resources on campus that are blocked from off-campus networks and the Internet by firewalls. VPN encrypts all data sent between your computer and the VPN server on Minnesota State Mankato's campus to prevent the ability to tap, capture or view your computer's network communication. VPN is particularly important for wireless laptop users.  Minnesota State Mankato uses SSL to provide remote access to services that are not available over the Internet, such as MavDISK. Two different VPN options are available. The SSL VPN service can be accessed using either a VPN client, or through your web browser.

NOTE: As of installation of Outlook 2003, you no longer require the use of VPN to work off-campus. Instructions for setting up Outlook are available on the MavMAIL - RPC over HTTP page. You can upgrade to recent versions of Microsoft Office at no charge by contacting the ITS Helpdesk.

NOTE: It is no longer necessary to use VPN to access Library resources. Simply use the Online Journals, or Databases pages from the Library's web site. You will be prompted for your Mav username and password once you select a resource. You can learn more about the proxy service on the Library's Remote Access website.

  1. SSL VPN Client
  2. Clientless VPN Portal

SSL VPN Client [Back]

The SSL VPN Client provides a full-featured connection to the campus for remote users. Using the client, you are able to access any service that would be available if you were on campus. If you need to map drives or use Remote Desktop Protocol this is the solution for you. The SSL VPN client fully supports 64-bit operating systems like Windows 7 and OS X. The client also works on most Linux distributions.

Installing the client software using the web installer [Back]

The easiest way to ensure that you are installing the most up to date VPN client for your machine is to use the web-based installer. The installer will detect the operating system you are using and install the correct client software for you.

Adding trusted site [Back]

The web-based installation will not work on Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7 if the Minnesota State Mankato VPN server is not listed in your browswers trusted sites. Follow these instructions to add vpn.mnsu.edu to your trusted sites.

  1. Click on your Start button and go to Control Panels.
    Image of the start button with Control Panels highlighted.
  2. Click on the Internet Options Control Panel.
    Image of the Internet Options control panel icon
  3. Click on the Security tab and then on the Trusted Sites check mark.
    Image of the security tab and trusted sites button
  4. Click on the Sites button and add vpn.mnsu.edu to the trusted sites.
  5. Click OK and exit out of the Internet Options Control Panel.

Web-based Installation [Back]

  1. Open your web browswer of choice and go to https://vpn.mnsu.edu
  2. Log into the VPN system using the username and password that you use to access services like MavMAIL or MavNET (your Active Directory credentials). Do not prefix your username with CAMPUS or use your email address as your username.
    Image of the logon screen
     
  3. You will be presented with the option to start AnyConnect or Cancel. You can either click the Start Now link or wait 15 seconds.
    User prompted to start AnyConnect
  4. When the installer starts, you will be prompted several times to confirm that you are allowing this software to run and that you trust the software. You may also see notices of blocked ActiveX content at the top of your browser window. Make sure that you select yes, allow, or trust at each of these prompts.
    Example image of prompts the user might see
  5. When the installation is complete, the software will automatically connect you to the Minnesota State Mankato network. You should see an icon in your system tray like this:
    Image of the task bar icon.

Special instructions for Linux users [Back]

Complete web-based instalation of Linux VPN software is not supported. When you log into the VPN system, there will be a long pause while the system tries to determine which operating system you are using. Afterwards, you will be presented with the option to download a tarball that contains the VPN software. You will need to expand the tarball and install manually. Detailed instructions on installing the VPN client using the downloaded tarball are in the next section.

Installing the client software using the setup program [Back]

 You can obtain the installation files from the software folder on MavDISK. The installers are located in a folder called VPN Client. Windows users that are on campus can click on this link: \\MavDISK\Software\Staff\VPN Client\

Windows Installation Process

  1. Begin the installation by right-clicking on the file AnyConnectWin.msi and selecting Install. The installation wizard will begin.
    Image of the installation wizard.
  2. Click Next to begin. Accept the license agreement, and click Next.
  3. Click the Install button to start copying files and making changes to your computer.
  4. During the installation, Windows will ask if you want to allow the installation. This may pop up in front of all other running programs, but in some cases the request is minimized as an icon next to the other running programs in your taskbar. If the progress indicator does not move for two or three minutes, you should check to see if there is a highlighted shield icon in your taskbar near the icons for your other running programs.
  5. When the wizard completes, click Finish to end the installation.

 Mac Installation Process

  1. Begin by double-clicking on the .dmg file that is correct for your hardware. For most users this will be AnyConnectMaci386.dmg.  If, however, you're using a very old Mac with a PowerPC chip, then you will want to use AnyConnectMacPPC.dmg.
  2. Open the dmg and double-click on vpn.pkg to begin the installation.
  3. You will receive a warning that this program is going to install software. Click Continue.
  4. Click Continue to begin the wizard.
  5. Read the license agreement, click Continue, and click Agree when prompted.
  6. Click the Install button to begin copying files.
  7. You will be prompted to provide a password for administrative functions.
  8. When the instalation completes, click Close to exit the wizard.

Linux Installation Process

  1. Download the file AnyConnectLinux.tar.gz to your machine.
  2. Open a terminal window and expand the tarball by typing tar xvzf AnyConnectLinux.tar.gz. This will create a folder called ciscovpn.
  3. Change directory to the ciscovpn folder
  4. As a root user, run the script vpn_install.sh.

Establishing a VPN connection [Back]

Once the Cisco AnyConnect software is installed on your computer, you can establish a VPN using either the AnyConnect software or your web browser.

Using your browser [Back]

Windows and Mac users: to start a new AnyConnect VPN session, open a browser and go to https://vpn.mnsu.edu. Log in with your Active Directory credentials as described in the installation process. After you log in, the VPN service will detect that you already have the client installed, and will establish the VPN connection for you. You will see the VPN connected icon appear in your taskbar. You can close your browser after the connection is established.

  VPN icon in the taskbar

This feature is not currently available for Linux users. See the next section for details on establishing a VPN connection using the client.

Launching the client [Back]

If you do not wish to use the web browser to establish a VPN connection, you can open the AnyConnect client and establish a connection without using your browser.

Windows Instructions for Starting the Client

  1. Click on the Start button, All Programs, Cisco, Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.
  2. Click on the AnyConnect VPN Client icon.
    Cisco AnyConnect client logon screen
  3. Ensure that you are connecting to vpn.mnsu.edu.
  4. Enter the username and password that you use to access services like MavMAIL, MavNET, and MavDISK (your Active Directory credentials). Do not include the campus domain in front of your user name.
  5. Click the Connect button.

Mac Instructions for Starting the Client

  1. Open the finder and click on the Applications folder.
  2. Expand the Cisco folder in applications
  3. Double-click on the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client
    • Alternatively, you can use the spotlight to find the client. Press the Command button and the space bar at the same time to open spotlight. Then start typing Cisco AnyConnect. This will highlight the client. Press enter to continue.
  4. Ensure that you are connecting to vpn.mnsu.edu
  5. Enter the username and password that you use to access services like MavMAIL, MavNET, and MavDISK (your Active Directory credentials). Do not include the campus domain in front of your username.
  6. Click the Connect button.

Linux Instructions for Starting the Client

  1. Open the VPN User Interface by running /opt/cisco/vpn/bin/vpnui.
  2. Ensure that you are connecting to vpn.mnsu.edu
  3. Enter ther username and password that you use to access services like MavMAIL, ManNET, and MavDISK (your Active Directory credentials). Do not include the campus domain in front of your username.
  4. Click the Connect button.
    • Alternatively, you can connect from the command line by running /opt/cisco/vpn/bin/vpn connect vpn.mnsu.edu.
    • You will be prompted to enter your username and password as described above.

Logging out of VPN

Logging out of VPN is as easy as right-clicking on the VPN icon in your taskbar and selecting disconnect. The VPN connection will be terminated, but the program will continue to run should you decide to reconnect. If you will not be using the VPN connection again for a while, you can also right-click and select quit.

Linux users can also disconnect from the command line by typing /opt/cisco/vpn/bin/vpn disconnect.

Clientless VPN Portal

The clientless VPN portal allows you to securely access campus services without installing the SSL VPN Client. This is a useful feature when you're using a computer on which you do not have administrative privileges to install software.

Accessing the Clientless Portal

  1. Open your web browser of choice and go to https://vpn.mnsu.edu
  2. Log into the VPN system using the username and password that you use to access services like MavMAIL or MavNET (your Active Directory credentials). Do not prefix your username with CAMPUS or use your email address as your username.
  3. You will be presented with the option to start AnyConnect or Cancel. Click Cancel to prevent the client software from attempting to install.

Accessing Campus Services

When you log into the portal, you will see the home page and a panel on the left side of the screen with links to various groups of services. By clicking on the Browse Networks group you can quickly gain access to your MavDISK storage, departmental folders, and other network services.

If there isn't a bookmark for the file share you would like to access, you can type in the path to the server using the address bar. If you need to authenticate you will be prompted to put in your username and password.

Navigating the Internet

When you log into the portal you will see the home page and a panel on the left side of the screen with links to various groups of services. By clicking on the Web Applications group you can quickly gain access to MavMAIL, ImageNow, and Desire2Learn.

If there isn't a bookmark for the file share you would like to access, you can type in the path to the server using the address bar. When you reach your web page, you will notice a navigation applet in the upper right side of your screen that you can use to move back, forward, or return to the portal. If you're visiting a page with a busy pattern or graphic it may be difficult to see the applet, but if you hover your mouse over the area the applet will become more opaque and easier to see.

Logging Out

When you wish to log out of the VPN portal, you may click the logout link near the upper-right corner of the screen at the end of the navigation bar. If you are not on the main portal page, the logout option appears as a red X in the navigation applet.