Virtual Private Network Connection

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Contents

When and Why to use a VPN connection

A VPN connection is used to encrypt all or part of your Internet traffic or to access services that are only available via the Stevens campus network when you are not on campus (the Library databases are an example of this type of service). You want to encrypt your traffic when sending/receiving sensitive data and/or the security of your local connection to the Internet is unknown or questionable; such as WiFi in a cyber cafe, airport, or hotel. You cannot use a VPN connection to the Stevens VPN server while on campus, therefore you can not test while on campus. It is suggested, you follow the implementation instructions when off campus and contact, the Information Technology Help Desk via a phone call to set-up and test your VPN connection. You do not need to use a VPN connection when sending email, if your email client is setup using authenticated SMTP.

There are two setups possible when using the VPN server. The first is where all your traffic is encrypted and passes (tunneled) through Stevens, referred to as “tunnel all traffic”. The other is called “split tunnel”. A “split tunnel” is where only traffic destined for Stevens is actually sent via the encrypted tunnel to Stevens. Each setup has its benefits. The “tunnel all traffic” must be used to access the library databases that require access via a Stevens network address and could/should be used when connecting to the Internet via a public WiFi where a malicious user may be looking at your traffic (sniffing). The down side is that all your traffic gets sent to Stevens and therefore your Internet browsing will be slower and other applications will be slower and /or may not work. Split tunnel is appropriate when you are at home or on a trusted network and would like to access certain restricted Stevens services that require you to be on the campus network to access. An example of this would be using your network storage on storage01. How do you know when to use which type of VPN?:

  • First are you using a campus resource that requires a VPN connection? If you are, then ask yourself, do you trust the security of the local network that you are using to connect to the Internet?
    • If you trust the local network, use a split tunnel.
    • If you do not trust the local network, tunnel all traffic
  • If you are not using a campus resource and you do not trust the local network and you are going do some on-line banking, ordering or exchanging personal data, on a web site that does not utilize secure certificates (SSL) be more secure and use the Stevens VPN to tunnel all traffic

If you are not using a VPN required resource or you are not actively sending or receiving sensitive data you should not be connected via VPN to campus. Type of VPN connection guidelines:

Split Tunneling

The following table should be used to decide if you can use Split Tunneling or not.

Description Using a VPN required campus resource Trusted local network Type of VPN connection to use
Using Library Database that requires a campus network address Yes Does not matter Tunnel All Traffic
Home on a wired connection and need access to network storage Yes Yes Split Tunnel
Home on a securely set up wireless connection Yes Yes Split Tunnel
Home on an insecurely set up wireless connection Yes No Tunnel ALL Traffic
Hot spot, convention, or other unknown/public local network Yes No Tunnel All Traffic
Home on a wired connection No Yes No VPN required
Home on a securely setup wireless connection No Yes No VPN required
Home on an insecurely set up wireless connection No No Setup your wireless connection securely and
VPN will not be required
Hot spot, convention, or other unknown/public local network No No Tunnel All Traffic

Setup

We recommend that you setup both the “Tunnel All Traffic” and the “Split Tunnel” VPN profiles, it only take a few minutes and once you have setup the first one the second goes faster.

Configure your computer to Tunnel All Traffic

In order to connect to the Stevens VPN, please follow the directions for your operating system below.

Configure your computer to connect using Split Tunneling

If you are trying to access the Library Databases, do NOT use Split Tunneling

In order to connect to the Stevens VPN using split tunneling, please follow the directions for your operating system below.

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