How do I access the University network off-campus?

The University uses a Cisco VPN client to securely connect your computer or mobile device to the University network if you are off-campus.

Install the VPN client

What is a virtual network (VPN)?

A virtual private network (VPN) provides individuals secure access to the University network.

When you launch the VPN client on your computer, you use your UniKey credentials to establish a VPN connection. This allows the University network to recognise you as a student and allow your personal computer or mobile phone to establish a virtual connection to the network.

The connection is also private; the VPN client acts like a "tunnel" so the data that is passed between your computer and the University network is not seen by other users of the Internet. This is why a VPN connection is required for you to access University resources (such as internet access, or certain file servers) that are not normally available to visitors.

Why do I need a VPN client?

You need a VPN connection when you are off-campus and need to access a resource (such as a database or a file server) that is only available if your computer is on the University network.

Some University resources are restricted so that only people who are using the University wired network are allowed access. For example, the Library website contains links to databases that can be accessed from a University computer for free after you have logged in using your UniKey. The same resource may may not be available to visitors.

You need to create a VPN connection using your UniKey to allow the network to recognise you as a student and allow your computer to establish a virtual and private connection to the network, enabling access to that resource.

If you don't have the VPN client installed

From 13 September 2013, any version of the VPN Client below v3.1 will no longer work.
Please select the appropriate download link from the table below in order to upgrade to/install the latest version, and follow the prompts:

Operating system Download link
Windows Windows VPN download
(Note: this version of VPN is only compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.8 or above)
Mac VPN download
Linux Linux 32-bit VPN download

Linux 64-bit VPN download
  1. Visit the VPN client download page
  2. In the VPN: field, type and click Connect.
  3. In the GROUP: field click the drop down list and select the Sydney_University_VPN profile
  4. Type your UniKey in the USERNAME: field
  5. Type your UniKey password in the PASSWORD: field
  6. Click Login. Your download will begin.
  7. Follow the instructions to install the client on your computer. When the download is complete and you have successfully connected to a VPN session, the client should be installed onto your computer.

When you no longer need a connection with the University network, open the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client dialogue box and click Disconnect.

If you have already installed the VPN client

After the first time you download and connect to the VPN, you should find the client under your computer’s Programs or Applications list.
For Windows users: The next time you need to connect to the VPN, run the VPN client again by clicking on the Start Menu > All Programs > Cisco > Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.

NOTE: Always remember to disconnect the Cisco VPN client once you no longer need to be connected to the University network. To do this, open the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client dialogue box and click Disconnect.

If your VPN has automatically updated

If your Cisco AnyConnect client has updated to version 3.1, you will need to enter the address of the VPN server again. Type in the field next to the 'Connect' button. When you click on Connect, you will be prompted for your username, password and profile which are the same settings that you have used previously.