Information on connecting to Penn State using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Why should I use it?

The purpose for VPN is to establish a secure connection with Penn State from off campus using the "ISPtoPSU" connection.  This would be used to connect to Penn State network-restricted resources (such as PASS and Udrive) from off campus.    

How do I get started?

Please refer to the installation instructions below to get started using VPN on your operating system of choice.  


Windows Installation

Visit and download the Windows version of the VPN client, choosing the release that is compatible with your copy of Windows.  

Double click the downloaded file to run the installer. Click on the "Next" button through all the prompts until the installation is finished. Once the VPN client has been installed click on the finish button, which will bring up a prompt to reboot. If you have everything saved and closed on your computer and a copy of this page available (please print, bookmark or open this page on another computer) click on the yes button to reboot your computer. Once you have rebooted your computer move on to the "Using the VPN client" section of this article.


Macintosh Installation

The best way to set up a VPN connetion using your Mac OSX system is by configuring the built-in VPN client.  Please refer to the links below to configure the built-in VPN Client.

Mac OSX 10.6

Mac OSX 10.7-10.9


Linux Installation

The VPNC application has been seen to provide the best connection stability on Linux.  Please refer to the link below to configure VPNC on your Linux-based system.

Linux VPN Configuration


iOS Installation

VPN can be configured on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) using the built-in client.  Please refer to the link below to configure the built-in VPN client.

iOS Configuration


Using the Windows VPN client

First, open the VPN client. The installation should have placed a shortcut on your desktop and a "Cisco" folder in your start menu. Once the client has loaded you will see a screen like the one below.

There will be several options for which network to connect to, and the network you will need to use will be different depending on the location you are connecting from and the method you are using. Unless you are connecting to a specific department shown in the list, use the "ISPtoPSU" connection.  All of the networks will require a user name and password. Simply use your Penn State access account id and password to connect.


What does the VPN actually do for me?

The VPN client has addresses for network servers at Penn State that are set up to handle these virtual networks. Without these servers and the VPN client you can not access the internal Penn State servers such as the PASS servers because your home connection is not normally a part of the network of machines at Penn State. By having the VPN client contact these network servers a private connection can be made that allows you to safely connect and transfer files to and from Penn State.

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