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What is a VPN?

VPN stands for "Virtual Private Network". A VPN is a secure Internet connection using encryption and tunneling protocols to create a safe connection, or tunnel, to a private network.

Why should I use VPN at Oberlin?

When your computer is connected to the Oberlin College VPN, all of your network traffic comes back to Oberlin College through a type of secure network "tunnel". The Oberlin College VPN is needed when accessing College network resources from off-campus, and when utilizing any (especially, secure or critical) network resources while on-campus using wireless connectivity.

It is extremely important to note that wireless network traffic is very insecure and should almost always be protected by using VPN. For example, we had a report of an individual using wireless at an Internet café, ordering items online, who subsequently discovered his credit card information had been stolen.

The Oberlin College VPN is used as a bridge to connect you into the Oberlin Campus network and should be used for cases such as those described below.

When do I use the VPN?

You do not need to use VPN all the time. You should, however, use VPN when:

  • Wireless and On-Campus: When you are using wireless while on campus and you need to use Oberlin College network resources such as Oberlin College printers, Banner, and Library Research Databases, or you are transmitting data that should remain secure (credit card info, bank account info, etc.).
  • Wired/Wireless Off-Campus: When you are off-campus and need to get into the Oberlin College network and access resources such as the Oberlin College Library Databases, Banner, or other Oberlin College servers, you should use VPN. VPN is not a service to provide Internet access.

Does VPN provide internet access if I'm off-campus?

No. You will still need to use your own personal Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Cable Co-op or DSL to access the Internet. VPN will then provide you the access into Oberlin College network resources.

Where do I get VPN software?

In order to use VPN, you no longer need to download a piece of software. Instead:

  1. Ensure that you are connected to the Internet.
  2. Point your web browser to vpn.cc.oberlin.edu.
  3. Enter your ObieID and password.
  4. Click Logon.
  5. Wait for the Sun Java applet to install the AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.
  6. You may receive dialog boxes asking for access to your computer or to enter your password. Agree and enter as necessary.
  7. The VPN client will then complete its connection and the web page will indicate that it has finished. When it finishes, you can navigate away from vpn.cc.oberlin.edu.

Can I use VPN on Android (e.g., Android-based phone or tablet)?

If your Android device is using Android version 4.0 or higher or Ice Cream Sandwich:

  1. Ensure that you are connected to the Internet.
  2. Download the Cisco AnyConnect ICS+ app from the Google Play store or your source for Android apps.
  3. Open the Cisco AnyConnect app.
  4. Add a new VPN connection.
  5. Enter the following information:
    • Description: Oberlin VPN
    • Server Address: vpn.cc.oberlin.edu
  6. When you attempt to connect to the VPN, you'll be prompted to enter your ObieID and password.
  7. Click OK.
  8. When your connection to VPN is open and running, that status will be reflected in the Notification Bar. You can also disconnect from VPN from this menu as well.

If you have difficulty connecting to VPN, or aren't sure how to use it, please call the CIT Help Desk (ext. 58197) for further assistance.

Can I use VPN on iOS (e.g., iPad, iPhone)?

Downloads and installation instructions for iOS on CIT's software downloads website:

If you have difficulty connecting to VPN, or aren't sure how to use it, please call the CIT Help Desk (ext. 58197) for further assistance.

Using Apple's built-in VPN client

If for some reason you cannot connect to vpn.cc.oberlin.edu and you're using a Mac, you can try a connecting using Apple's built-in VPN client.

  1. Open System Preferences and choose the Network pane.
  2. Click the "+" sign at the lower left to add a new network interface.
Select Interface: VPN
VPN Type: Cisco IPSec
Service Name: Oberlin VPN (or whatever you would like)
Server address: vpn.cc.oberlin.edu
Account Name: <your ObieID>
Password: <leave blank>
  1. Click the "Authentication Settings" button
Shared Secret: feb2006
Group Name: OC    (All CAPS)
  1. Click the "Show VPN in status bar" checkbox in the lower left.
  2. The Mac VPN icon should appear in your Menu Bar. A VPN connection can be initiated with this icon.

If your VPN Connection drops

If your connection drops for any reason, just re-connect to vpn.cc.oberlin.edu to restore functionality.