VPN - Troubleshooting and Alternatives

Issue/Question

  • The VPN keeps disconnecting
  • My network connectivity through the OSU VPN is slow

Environment

  • Oregon State University
  • VPN

Cause/Explanation

When you connect to the OSU VPN, the software sets up a "tunnel" between your computer and OSU's network. In "full tunnel" mode, all of your network traffic goes to OSU. This means that when you connect to the VPN and then try to access sites off-campus, your network traffic has to go to OSU first, then to the other site. This can introduce a lot of latency.

In addition, the tunnel to OSU is a secure tunnel that will fail if your local Internet connectivity stops briefly. Any "blip" in your network connectivity will cause the connection to the OSU VPN to quit, and you will have to connect again.

Note: the OSU VPN is a limited resource and you should only connect to it when you need to. Customers who handle certain data types should use the VPN when connecting from remote. Please see for details: Keep Working - Remote Resource and Service Access

Resolution

The following are suggested options to address poor performance through the VPN.

Confirm VPN is Needed

Most OSU services do not require VPN to access. Please review the list of services that require VPN.

Disconnect VPN When Not in Use

If you are not currently using the VPN to access OSU resources, you should disconnect to improve your network performance.

Note: if you have mapped drives on your computer, you will see a message that the mapped drives have disconnected when you are not connected to VPN. 

Troubleshoot Local Connectivity Issues

Try a reboot. Rebooting the computer can resolve a lot of issues related to performance and is worth a try.

If you are on home wifi, check your wifi coverage. If you have the option to plug into a wired port on your router, use it. Although electronic devices are not supposed to interfere with wifi, they often do. Common culprits include microwave ovens, network printers, and anything with a motor.

If connectivity issues persist when you are not connected to the OSU VPN, contact your local Internet service provider.

Use Remote Desktop Gateway for RDP Access

The remote desktop gateway allows you to remote in to a Windows work computer without using the VPN. This requires some setup by your IT support team. See: Remote Desktop - Access Your Office Computer from Another Location

Note: not all users can use the remote desktop gateway at this time. Check with your manager.

Use the Library Proxy to Access Library Databases

The Library proxy does not require VPN. See: https://library.oregonstate.edu/off-campus-access

Use Chrome App on Citrix Apps

For web-based services that require you to be on OSU's network, the Chrome app on Citrix Apps is a good work-around: http://apps.oregonstate.edu

Use Virtual Desktop or Virtual Lab

If you need to run software that is only available in the OSU Campus Labs, you can use a virtual desktop or virtual lab computer via Citrix: Virtual Open Lab for Students

Please note that this service is primarily intended for students.

Use MyCN to Access CN Files

If you store files on CN-Home or CN-Share, you can use MyCN to access them. For easier access, transfer your files up to Box and use Box Drive. For steps, see: CN File Access from Home Using MyCN

Use Cloud Storage

Many network shares are provided on campus and are restricted to computers on the OSU network. Customers often use VPN to access them, e.g. to map a network drive. Consider using OSU-provided cloud storage instead, as it can be accessed from any device on any network. Box, OneDrive and Google Drive are all available options.

Use a Secured Jump Host

For servers, network shares or other devices that need to be accessed remotely, IT units can set up a secured jump host that allows external parties to connect and then access the on-campus resource. This is a secure method for external access when the jump host is restricted only to known users, is hardened from attack, and has logging to show who has accessed it. Common examples are SSH servers, through which users can do SSH tunneling, or Remote Desktop connections to a hardened system. IT teams must coordinate with NOC and OIS before setting up a secure jump host.

College of Engineering Students

For College of Engineering students needing remote access to services provided by the college, VPN is one option but not the only one. Alternatives include Citrix and SOCKS5 proxy over SSH. For assistance, please contact coe.support@oregonstate.edu.

 

For assistance, contact the Service Desk.

Details

Article ID: 102045
Created
Wed 3/18/20 3:48 PM
Modified
Tue 8/18/20 10:24 AM

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