The Virtual Private Network (VPN) service is available to all staff, postgraduate students and authorised contractors.
If you are a student trying to access the VPN service from China, please see VPN access from China
You can establish a secure connection to our network from outside the University. This means the data passing between your computer and the University network is protected, as it is strongly encrypted.
Most University resources do not require a VPN connection as they are made available and secured in other ways, such as with Two Factor Authentication. For example, you can access email, Canvas and Student Services Online without a VPN.
If in doubt, we recommend trying to access the resource or application service you need without the VPN first.
When you need to use VPN
If your computer is not connected to the University network, but you want to access certain resources, you may need to establish a VPN connection.
For example, you may need to use VPN if you:
- work from home
- travel on University business
- work from a remote site
You may also need VPN when accessing University internal resources not publicly accessible through the internet.
Note the VPN is not available to staff in China.
To connect to VPN you need to:
- be a current:
- staff member
- enrolled postgraduate student
- non-appointment academic
- visiting doctoral candidate
- external collaborator
- authorised contractor
- be logged in using your username (UPI) and password
- have installed the VPN client software available (see next section)
- have an active internet connection (eg, broadband, network or dial-up)
- be off campus; VPN won’t connect if you are already logged on to the University network
Installing the software
The software application client you need installed is called FortiClient VPN.
This is a new VPN client, replacing the previous Cisco AnyConnect service. It provides the University with significantly increased VPN capacity.
Detailed guidance and instructions on how to install and use FortiClient can be downloaded below.
This guide covers Windows, Macs, Apple iOS and Android requirements, both for University owned and managed devices and ‘BYOD’ (Bring Your Own Device).
For Apple iOS and Android mobile devices, you can download the latest client from either the Apple or Android stores. You can also use your device's pre-installed/configured VPN applications.
Once the FortiClient VPN download is installed on your device, you may need to take additional configuration steps depending on your user scenario. Please read the guidance document attached.
Older VPN clients
If you are a current VPN user you will be used to using the Cisco AnyConnect solution. Whilst this service is still available and accessible, you are recommended to download and use the new FortiClient service to avoid potential access issues.
The Cisco solution will be decommissioned in due course.
For Linux Ubuntu users please see instructions on how to install FortiClient VPN for Ubuntu.
For all Linux distributions other than Ubuntu please see instructions on how to install Openfortivpn to connect to FortiNet VPN.
- Even with the best security in place, this type of remote connection can still be compromised if you do not take reasonable precautions to prevent misuse.
- You are responsible for physical security at your remote working site, your own equipment and your internet connection.
- While connected, you must comply with our IT use policies.
- You must also comply with our IT Security Policy.
Important information for users of FortiClient VPN
To get the best experience from FortiClient VPN please note the following:
- FortiClient login requires username (UPI), password and a valid 2FA token.
- On entering a valid username and password you will have 120 seconds to enter a valid 2FA token.
- If you enter an invalid username and/or password twice you will have to wait 60 seconds (or close and reopen FortiClient) before trying again.
- If you enter an invalid 2FA token twice you will have to wait 60 seconds (or close and reopen FortiClient) before trying again.
- FortiClient will automatically disconnect after 4 hours of no VPN activity. This will require you to manually reconnect by entering a valid username, password and 2FA token.
- FortiClient will automatically disconnect after 12 hours of VPN activity. This will require you to manually reconnect by entering a valid username, password and 2FA token.
- If your WiFi, Ethernet or internet connection is disrupted FortiClient will automatically disconnect. This will require you to manually reconnect by entering a valid username, password and 2FA token.
If you require further support, please contact the Staff Service Centre by raising a service request on the Portal.
Please make a note of and be prepared to provide details on the following before you contact us:
- The symptoms you are encountering.
- Whether you are managing to connect or it is rejecting your password.
- Any error messages it is returning.
- Whether you have a software or
- hardware firewall in place or installed on your computer.
- Which operating system version you are running.
- Whether you are connecting via a modem, or a USB broadband/ADSL modem, or a router.
- Ideally, exact dates and times of your attempts to connect so that we can look through our logs.
- Which Internet Service Provider (ISP) you are using.