The basics of VPN at IU

On this page:

VPN basics

A virtual private network (VPN) allows you to temporarily create or join a private network across an existing public network by creating an encrypted tunnel between two hosts. The encryption protects the data your computer or mobile device transmits and receives over the Internet, enabling secure remote access to restricted online resources.

Many public wireless networks (e.g., those provided by hotels and restaurants) are not encrypted, leaving transmitted data unprotected and vulnerable to electronic surveillance. Even data originating from a secure network (e.g., one provided by your employer or school) may be vulnerable if they are being transmitted to another secure network over the public Internet. To prevent data from being intercepted (especially confidential financial data, or data protected by federal laws, such as FERPA and HIPAA data) businesses, government offices, universities, and other institutions use VPN systems to encrypt data transmitted between their secure networks and remote users.

All Indiana University campuses provide VPN services to enable off-campus access to online resources that are configured to refuse connections from outside the IU network. Establishing a VPN connection effectively joins your off-campus computer or mobile device to the IU network, allowing you to access restricted online resources as if you were working from an on-campus workstation.

Some examples of services for which you need a VPN connection are:

  • Print queues
  • Some library databases
  • Remote desktop connections
  • Most network storage drives
  • Administrative access to sensitive central systems (e.g., HRMS, SIS)

Whenever you are off campus and cannot connect to a service, establish a VPN connection and see if that fixes the problem.

Connecting to the IU VPN

For the most reliable connections across the widest range of platforms and network configurations, UITS recommends connecting to IU's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN with the Pulse Secure SSL VPN client.

IU students, faculty, and staff can download Pulse Secure for 32- or 64-bit Windows or OS X at no cost from IUware. Free mobile versions are available for Android devices (from the Google Play store) and Apple devices running iOS 6.0 or later (from the Apple App Store). The Pulse Secure client is the official replacement for the Junos Pulse client previously used at IU.

For instructions on configuring Pulse Secure to connect to IU's SSL VPN, see:

Pulse Secure is not yet available for the Windows Phone, BlackBerry, or Linux platforms:

Your campus may have additional or alternative options; if you have questions or need help, contact your campus Support Center.

You can connect only one device at a time to IU's SSL VPN. If you try to connect a device while you already have a connection running on another device, you'll see a prompt asking whether you want to maintain the existing connection and cancel the new connection request, or break the existing connection and establish a new connection.

This is document ajrq in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-10-08.

  • Fill out this form to submit your issue to the UITS Support Center.
  • Please note that you must be affiliated with Indiana University to receive support.
  • All fields are required.

Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.

  • Fill out this form to submit your comment to the IU Knowledge Base.
  • If you are affiliated with Indiana University and need help with a computing problem, please use the I need help with a computing problem section above, or contact your campus Support Center.

Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.