VPN service

The VPN service is available to all staff, postgraduate students and authorised contractors.

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 VPN as they are available and secured in other ways. For example, you can access email, Canvas and Student Services Online without VPN.

When you need to use VPN

If your computer is not connected to the University network, but you want to access resources, you need 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.

Using VPN

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
  • log in using your username and password
  • install the VPN client software available (see downloads below)
  • use an active internet connection (eg, broadband, network or dial-up)
  • be off campus; VPN won’t connect if you are already on the University network

Installing the software

If you don’t have administrator access on your computer, ask the appropriate support team to install it.

Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client

This is a new Cisco client that:

  • provides simpler, seamless, secure web access connectivity
  • uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and IPv6 support
  • is available across all platforms (laptops, mobiles and tablets) and most operating systems
  • automatically selects the optimal network access point as mobile workers roam
  • adapts its tunnelling protocol to the most efficient method

For Apple and Android mobile devices, you can download the latest client from either the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store. You can also use your device's pre-installed/configured VPN applications.

Once the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility (for Windows) client is installed on your device, there are three steps to activate the connection:

  1. Type in vpn1.auckland.ac.nz to specify where you want to connect to (vpn2.auckland.ac.nz is an alternative connection) and click Select. This will establish a connection to the University network.
  2. Select your group: 
    1. Contractor (including External Collaborators)
    2. Staff (including PhD)
    3. Student (postgraduate students)
    4. Visitor
    5. VOIP
  3. Enter your username and password. Click Connect

Older VPN clients

While some older VPN clients still work in this environment and are supported, Cisco VPN does not work with Windows 10.

The Cisco VPN Client reached end-of-life (EOL) in July 2016 and is no longer supported by Cisco in lieu of the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client v4. 

Windows

Before you load or install the new VPN client, uninstall any older versions.

You also need to know whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or 64-bit version of the Windows operating system.

When you download and run any of the clients below, the configurations are automatically installed ready for use.

Students

Staff

Contractors, visitors and external collaborators

Linux

Cisco AnyConnect client supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x (32-bit) and 6.4 (64-bit), Ubuntu 9.x, 10.x, and 11.x (32-bit) and Ubuntu 12.04 & 12.10 (64-bit). It is a standalone tarball package for Linux platforms. Instructions for Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client for Linux.

Security

  • Even with the best security, this type of remote connection can be compromised if you do not take reasonable precautions to prevent misuse.
  • You are responsible for the physical security at the remote 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.  

Support and troubleshooting

Setting up a VPN service on your computer is usually very easy. However, some problems can arise.

First, check that you have installed the correct client for your computer and you meet all the dependencies. If you still have problems connecting, please continue reading.

1. Connect to the internet

To connect to the VPN server you must be connected to the internet first.

2. Try again later

If your VPN connection was working recently and has suddenly stopped, the server may be down temporarily, unavailable or too many users are connected. Try again later.

3. Error message

There are a number of error messages that can appear when a VPN connection is unsuccessful.

They usually have a number like ‘Error 721’. By searching for this error message and number online, you can often find what it means and why it has appeared. Also, you can often find out how other people have dealt with the problem themselves. Try Google.  

Quite often, it a configuration or software version incompatibility on your home computer that you should update.

4. Check VPN settings

Verify your VPN configuration settings or delete and reinstall the client from this page.

5. At what stage does it fail?

If you are sure all of your settings are correct, think about the error message you have received (if any) and see if it relates to any of the issues listed below.

The number of possible problems can be reduced by watching how and when the connection attempt fails.

  • If it fails as it is trying to connect (ie, before the 'verifying username and password' stage) then see the 'Failing to connect?' section below.
  • If you can connect but cannot login successfully, then see the 'Failing to verify username and password?' section below.

6. Failing to connect?

  • Firewall settings
    • Some software firewalls have been known to stop users connecting to our VPN server, especially if the settings are too 'restrictive'.
    • You can usually tell if it is your firewall causing the problem by turning it off and trying again.
    • Versions of Microsoft Windows XP service pack 2 and above have a built-in firewall already turned on. However, its default settings have not been known to interfere with University VPN connections.
  • Router / Firewall firmware version
    • Out-of-date 'firmware' versions on ADSL routers are one of the most frequent causes of VPN problems.
    • If you are using an ADSL Router or Firewall device to connect to broadband at home, and are getting the error message 'Error 800 - Unable to establish the VPN connection' when you try to connect, then you should check that the router's software or firmware version is up to date.
    • The manufacturers of these devices often develop the latest firmware versions and make them available for download from their own websites. Download and install the latest available firmware code for your model of Router and try to connect again. (Note: this does not usually apply standard ADSL modem devices.)
    • Often some older versions of router firmware are not programmed to cope with running multiple VPN connections at the same time. If you have more than one computer connecting to VPN behind your router, check that the router firmware is capable of this and try upgrading it to the latest firmware version.
  • ISP's VPN availability
    • Some Internet Service Providers (ISP) restrict certain traffic or network ports over their service.
    • If protocols are not supported, or VPN is blocked by your ISP, you will not be able to connect.
  • Using NAT
    • If you are using an ADSL router and have Network Address Translation (NAT) set up, this can cause problems if two people try to connect at once.
    • Some routers can still detect which computer to send the two separate sets of traffic to and some can't. Firmware updates may improve this.

7. Failing to verify username and password

NetAccount: To log into any University system or computer your account must already be registered and active.
Username: Log in with your username and password.

8. Unexpected disconnections

  • Automatic timeouts: We do not have any timeouts from the VPN server side, but your VPN connection will terminate if your internet connection stops or your computer powers off.
  • Server busy: The server can only support a limited number of concurrent users and can occasionally get too busy. This may cause your your connection to stall or disconnect unexpectedly. If you suspect this is happening too frequently or for days at a time, report the problem to the IT Service Desk.

9. Contact the Staff Service Centre

If you are still having problems, contact the Staff Service Centre during business hours:
Phone: +64 9 923 5100
Email: staffservice@auckland.ac.nz

Please give a detailed description of:

  • The symptoms.
  • 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.