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Virtual Private Network (VPN) User Guide

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What is a VPN?

 A virtual private network (VPN) is a way to create a secure, encrypted connection between two networks over the Internet. A computer connected to UT's VPN is considered to be on the UT network, even if that computer is located off-campus or on another ISP's network.

Why use a VPN?

Certain secure resources such as IRIS and T-Storage require computers to be connected to the UT network over a secure channel. This means that if a computer is not on UT's encrypted network (via Ethernet or eduroam) it must be connected via the VPN in order to use these services. The VPN is required in order to protect sensitive information and comply with information security standards.

How to use the VPN?

For some functions, the VPN can be accessed via the web portal at https://access.utk.edu but most functions of the VPN require a VPN client. The VPN client supported by the university is called Pulse Secure and can be downloaded at our software downloads site under the VPN category.

What platforms are supported?

The Pulse Secure client is available from OIT for use on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix systems.  OIT provides full support for both the Windows and macOS client. **OIT provides limited support for the VPN on Unix or Linux clients. Basic instructions for Linux are available in the KB

Configuring Pulse Secure on Windows or Mac

Pulse Secure is the latest client for connecting to the SSL-VPN from a Windows or Mac. General instructions for configuring the client for either operating system are below. 

  1. Download and install the Pulse Secure application found under the VPN section of the OIT Software Download Site.
  2. Once installed, launch Pulse Secure.
  3. Select the plus to add a new connection.
  4. Give the connection a name, such as "UTK VPN" and enter the server name: access.utk.edu
  5. Once configured, click Connect.
  6. Next, you will select your realm. Unless otherwise specified, select Users as your realm and click Connect. Optional: You may save your settings to expedite the login process in the future. 
  7. You will be prompted to enter your NetID and password.
    Optional: You may save your settings to expedite the login process in the future.  
         User Name
    : your-netid
         Password: your-netid password
  8. Windows:
    Once connected, Pulse Secure will appear in your task tray. Selecting the Pulse Secure icon, will allow you to turn Pulse off or on, open the Pulse window, connect, disconnect, cancel, suspend, resume, or extend your VPN session.


    Mac
    :
    Once connected, Pulse Secure will appear in your menu bar. Selecting the Pulse Secure icon, will allow you to turn Pulse off or on, open the Pulse window, connect, disconnect, cancel, suspend, resume, or extend your VPN session.
  9. To disconnect your VPN session, select Disconnect from the Pulse Secure window, task tray, or menu bar shortcut.

 

iOS or Android

To connect to the VPN from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad running iOS:

  1. Download and install the free app Pulse Secure from the iTunes App Store.
    **Note: this is a third party application. OIT does not support the application beyond configuration instructions.
  2. Once Pulse Secure is installed, launch the application and click on Please Add a Connection
    VPNiOS1
  3. Enter the following information on the configuration screen:
    Connection Name (optional): You can enter any name you want for this.
    URL: access.utk.edu
    Username: your-netid
  4. Click Add.
    VPNiOS2
  5. Tap Connect on the main screen to connect to the VPN.
    VPNiOS3
  6. Enter your NetID Password when you see the access.utk.edu page and tap Sign In or Go from the keyboard. If you entered your NetID above, this will be pre-populated for you.
    VPNiOS4
  7. You are now connected to the VPN. Tap Disconnect to end your session.

 

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