Virtual Private Network (PSU and EMS VPN Services)
The Penn State Anywhere service, which uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows off-campus users to access networking and computer service as if the computer is located on campus. A comphrensive guide describing VPN service in general is available at http://aset.its.psu.edu/vpn/.
For meteorology students who live off-campus and access the Internet through dial-up (http://helpdesk.psu.edu/dialup.html), Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or Cable Modem services from a local Internet Service Provider (ISP), this VPN service allows the user's computer to locate itself behind either the Penn State firewall or the EMS college firewall. Once behind either firewall, students can access networking and computing service without restrictions.
Please note, to access the information on the PSU or EMS VPN website, you will need to use your PSU CAC access ID and password!
NOTE: If you are encountering problems with the VPN, please ensure that you are using the latest software available from PSU ITS at https://downloads.its.psu.edu.
Understanding the VPN
The VPN acts as a gateway between your local Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the Penn State campus backbone. You first must have an active connection to the general public internet that functions properly. The VPN software then allows the user to authenticate themselves to the university and/or college and sets up a "tunnel" to a location in internet-space behind the firewall. At that point, the computer essentially has an campus internet address.
Getting the VPN software
The first step is to acquire the Cisco VPN software from Penn State. Penn State provides web-based instructions on how to download the software at the following Universal Resource Location (URL):
Once logged into "downloads.its.psu.edu" from the previous page, select "connecting to Penn State" and find the VPN software.
You will need to download the appropriate client for your operating system and install it. In the case of the Windows XP client, the software is provided as a self-extracting zipped archive. Allow the executable to extract itself and execute "Setup".
Configuring the VPN software for the PSU firewall
For most applications, getting behind the PSU firewall will be sufficient. For example, in order to access full range of products on the Penn State Department of Meteorology's Electronic Map Wall (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/ewall), this level of service will suffice.
First, make sure all web browsers, mail clients, etc., are closed before starting up the VPN client. The insures that the VPN assigned internet address will be used rather than the local IP assigned internet address. Second, start up the VPN client after connecting the internet via your internet provider. Next, in the list of available clients, select:
ISP to PSU
from the connection entry list and log into the network. (This stands for "Internet Service Provider to Penn State University".) At this point, your computer should be behind the firewall. If the following website works properly, you are connected via the PSU VPN server properly:
If the ISP to PSU entry does not exist, you probably downloaded the wrong software version or did something odd and will need to add it.
To add the entry, select "New".
In "Connection Entry", put "ISP to PSU".
In "Description" put "Internet service provider to Penn State ITS"
In "Host" put "vpn.aset.psu.edu"
The Group is "psuconnect"
The Group password is "psuconnect"
Leave everything else in the default state, save and try connecting.
If you still need help, access the sample configurations page at:
or contact meteorology support via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the web at http://support.meteo.psu.edu. Please provide a detailed description of what you are attempting, which platform you are using and any error messages. The more information you provide, the better the support staff can help you.
Configuring the VPN software for the EMS firewall
In the case where a user needs to be located inside the EMS firewall, follow the instructions for the PSU firewall client above first. Then, follow the instructions on how to setup the EMS VPN remote access service at:
You will need to add the connection entry information for the the EMS VPN.
(Rev. CFP 30-Dec-05)