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Most up-to-date mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets) have a built-in VPN client already, and we can help you configure it in order to connect to the Stanford University Public VPN.
For desktops and laptops, we recommend you use the Cisco AnyConnect client.
(Mac computers also have a built-in VPN client, but it is slightly more prone to accidental disconnects, so we recommend the Cisco client instead.)
For help setting up and using the VPN, visit vpn.stanford.edu and scroll down to Getting Started, where you can select your own specific operating system for further instructions.
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network which encrypts network traffic from a remote computer to the Stanford VPN server, which then unencrypts it and passes it to the desired destination. General computer users in the School of Medicine can use Stanford University's Public VPN service to securely connect to Stanford resources from off-campus. You can access the VPN from a Windows, Mac or Linux system, and even from a mobile device running Android or iOS.
It is important to understand that after the network traffic passes through the VPN server, it is no longer in a safe network tunnel, and is only secured by the protocols being utilized for each connection. Be sure to continue to use appropriately secured communication methods such as HTTPS, SSH and SSL while connected through VPN.
Remote desktop connections allow people to view and control the desktop of one computer while sitting at a computer in another location. The remote desktop connection will appear as if you are sitting at the computer to which you are remotely connected. In conjunction with the VPN client, you can access your Stanford computer’s desktop from home. For PCs, Windows provides a Remote Desktop Connection client which allows you to accomplish this. We do NOT recommend using any type of VNC connections as they are not encrypted. VNC connections may be subject to compromise.
Setting up Windows Remote Desktop Connection
On the target computer (the computer TO which you want to connect)
- Click on the Start menu and go to Control Panels -> System (Control Panels are sometimes under Settings in the Start menu)
- Click the Remote tab
- Under Remote Desktop, check “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer” and click OK.
- Click on the Start menu and click “Run…”
- Type cmd and click OK.
- At the command prompt, type ipconfig
- Under your Local Area Connection, look for a field called “IP Address” and write down that number. If you are on the School of Medicine network, it should start with a 171.65.
- *Note* The target computer must have a user account with a password to connect using the Remote Desktop Connection. If your user account does not have a password, you should give it one in the User Accounts Control Panel.
On the client computer (the computer FROM which you want to connect)
- Open the Cisco VPN client and connect to Stanford as described above. *Note: If your target computer is on the SUMCNet you will need the SUMCNet connection Profile. See the SUMCnet Remote Access section of the SUMCnet page for more information.
- Click on the Start menu -> Programs ->Accessories -> Communications -> RemoteDesktop Connection. *Note: it may help to put a shortcut of this on your desktop for easy access. To do this, navigate to the Remote Desktop Connection as specified above and rather than left clicking on it, right-click-drag the icon to your desktop and when you let go of the right mouse button, click “Copy Here”*
- In the Computer field, type in the IP address of your target computer as you found in step 7 above and click connect.
- You will be prompted to log in to your target computer. This is the same username and password that you use at that computer. For example, if you are sitting at your home computer and you are trying to Remote Desktop to your work computer, you would type in the username and password of your work computer here.
- Your target computer’s desktop will then appear and you will be able to work on it as if you were sitting at it.
- When finished with your Remote Desktop Connection, go to the start menu and click “Log off”. Do NOT click “Disconnect” as that will unlock the target computer’s screen so that anyone near it can use it without knowing the password.
If you are an SHC or LPCH employee, you may gain remote access from off campus via their respective websites.
- For SHC: Call the SHC Help Desk at 723-3333
- For LPCH: https://remote.lpch.org
If you have any problems or questions, you can reach the LPCH Help Desk at 498-7500