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Use VPN for a Secure Connection

Northwestern’s VPN service allows students, faculty, and staff to access University resources securely while using non-Northwestern networks to connect to the internet. The VPN does this by encrypting the internet traffic between the computer/laptop/tablet and the campus network. The user’s traffic appears to originate from within the Northwestern network.

A VPN connection is an extension of the Northwestern Network and subject to the University's Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy.

Important facts about VPN

VPN Options

Any individual associated with Northwestern and with a NetID may use VPN.  There are several VPN options.

General Use VPN – To securely access Northwestern resources when off- campus

For managed devices, your school or department will have automatically installed the GlobalProtect VPN on your University-owned device. No other action is required.  

For unmanaged University computers or home computers, or to use the VPN on a phone or other mobile device, you will need to install the client yourself. Please visit the Northwestern IT Knowledge Base for VPN set-up and use instructions.

Custom VPN Group* – Limits certain resources to only specific users

Custom VPN Groups are for campus organizations that want access to specific resources or applications limited to a pre-defined set of users.  This typically small set of users connect as a general VPN user with the VPN client on their device and are assigned a unique IP address from a group-specific block of addresses.  Their traffic coming from the group IP block allows them access to the pre-defined resources and applications.  These users also have access to all other applications or resources accessible using the General Use VPN.

Web-based VPN* – Limits users and resources

Some organizations on campus have a web-based VPN deployed which limits access of  a defined group of users to only a defined group of resources.  When these designated users log into the web-based VPN, they see bookmarks for the resources that are available to them.  Access to these resources is given via the web app and does not require a separate VPN application to be installed on their devices. Web-based VPN Access Page NetID authentication required

*Custom VPN Groups and Web-based VPN requires Northwestern IT involvement. To make a request, please contact your local IT support.  If you do not have local IT support staff for your area, please contact the IT Support Center.


Last Updated: 24 March 2021

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