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Configure Windows 7 to access Rhodes' VPN server

Rhodes' Virtual Private Network (VPN) server allows staff using a PC on the Internet (i.e. people who are not on campus or connected to Rhodes' network directly) to virtually connect to the Rhodes network.  The effect is that the PC becomes connected to the Rhodes network, and thus has full access to resources on the Rhode network. 

Access to the VPN server is automatically granted to all staff at the University.  All you need to do is configure your PC to make use of the VPN.

Setting up the VPN connection in Windows 7

1.  Click Start then Control Panel.

2.  Click Network and Sharing Center.

3.  Under Change your networking settings click Set up a new connection or network.

4.  Select Connect to a workplace, then click Next.

5.  Select Use my Internet connection (VPN)

6.  In the Internet address box, enter vpn.ru.ac.za.  In the Destination name enter Rhodes VPN Connection, you don't have to check any of the checkboxes then click Next.

7.  Enter your Rhodes Username and Password then click Connect.

8.  After clicking connect, it will set up the VPN connection for you if you have entered the correct username and password.

Connecting to the VPN

1.  Click Start then Control Panel.

2.  Click Network and Sharing Center.

3.  In the left pane click on Change adapter settings.

4.  Right click on Rhodes VPN Connection and select Connect.

5.  On the new window enter your Username and Password then click connect, afer a couple of seconds you should get a message saying you are connected to the VPN.

Disconnecting from the VPN

Please disconnect from the VPN service when you've finished using it.

  1. In order to disconnect from the VPN you follow the exact steps as connecting to the VPN but in step 4, right click and select Disconnect.

Notes about using the VPN

  • Broadband in South Africa
    If you're connecting to the VPN server from home over an ADSL line or 3G/4G mobile connection, please bear in mind that your broadband usage may be subject to a cap (the equivalent of Rhodes' quota). Your VPN traffic will contribute to this cap.

    This is particularly relevant if, for example, your're using remote desktop over the VPN. Remote desktop will generate traffic continously, even when you're not using it. In the same way, if your laptop is configured to fetch software or anti-virus updates from the University's servers, it'll do this in the background when the VPN is connected. You may want to disconnect whatever you're doing when you are not actually using it to prevent this, and to avoid using up your cap.

  • PPTP no longer supported
    If you're not able to connect to the VPN service and your connection was set up prior to 2017, please check that your connection is not set to use the Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which is no longer supported.

    Right-click on the Rhodes VPN Connection and select Properties. Click on the Security tab. If Type of VPN is set to "Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)", please change the setting to "Automatic" (or "Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)") instead.

  • Firewalls
    If you're intending on connecting to the VPN service from a corporate network or another university, you may find that you need to ask the administrators of that network to create firewall exceptions to allow your VPN connection to work. The following should provide the information they need to do so:

    Rhodes' VPN service, vpn.ru.ac.za, supports either Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), or L2TP/IPsec. SSTP is on TCP port 443. L2TP/IPsec uses ISAKMP on UDP port 500 as well as either IPsec ESP or, for networks which use NAT, UDP-encapsulated-ESP on UDP port 4500.

  • Using L2TP/IPsec instead of SSTP
    If you're unable to connect to the VPN service because the network you're connecting from does not permit SSTP connections, try changing your connection to use the L2TP/IPsec protocol instead.

    Right-click on the Rhodes VPN Connection and select Properties.  Click on the Security tab and change the Type of VPNto "Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPsec (L2TP/IPSec)"

    Click on the Advanced Settings button and set the preshared key for authentication as follows:

Last Modified :Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:35:21 SAST