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Note from DTS on using the VPN

Laptop at home

Earlier this year, the Digital Technology Services (DTS) team implemented a new VPN solution that improved capacity and security.

With many colleagues working remotely since March, the new VPN has provided us with much greater capacity and stability that our community needs to work, research and study. Thank you for your ongoing patience whilst we've adapted, and continue to adapt, to these new ways of working.

The VPN allows you, when working remotely, to access internal systems that require a connection to the University network. Further information about remote working and which systems you might need to use the VPN for can be found on the Remote Working webpage.

You can access most of the tools you need off campus without the need for the VPN. Only people needing access to certain internal University systems will need to use the VPN - you do not need to use the VPN to access Outlook (e.g. email and calendar), Teams or OneDrive.  

Whilst we've worked hard over the last year to extend the capacity of our VPN to allow a better service for you, we have some hints and tips for you to get more from your connection.

Please Do:

  • If using the VPN to access your home drive, we recommend copying your files to your personal University of Reading OneDrive instead. Instructions to do so can be found here. You will not need to use the VPN to access your University of Reading OneDrive.
  • Use web-based services if you are able to do so, these should allow you to work more efficiently on your connection
  • If you're working remotely from a University of Reading device, we strongly recommend connecting to the VPN at least once a week to ensure important updates can be run, and to prevent your device having issues when reconnecting on campus
  • The University's VPN sessions will run for eight hours before disconnecting and you will need to reconnect at this point. We are looking at increasing this but in the meantime, please consider whether you might disconnect over lunch or breaks if you will need to use the VPN at a crucial point of the afternoon.
  • Please remember to log off when you've finished using the VPN. You might not need to use it all the time, and we have plenty of capacity so you won't have any issues reconnecting when you need it again
  • When using your University account to login to the VPN you will need to verify your connection using Multi Factor Authentication, via the Microsoft Authenticator app. Full details and guides can be found on the Remote Services Access page.

Please Don't:

  • When working on files from collaborative drives, we recommend saving these to a local drive, making any edits and then saving the new document back to the collaborative drive, making sure to delete the local copy from your device. Editing documents from your home drive or collaborative drives directly can slow down the connection.
  • Please don't use the VPN to stream videos or music, such as Stream, Netflix or Spotify
  • Please don't use databases directly - the data is all streaming to your local machine
  • We would recommend avoiding using Microsoft Teams calling whilst connected to the VPN, this will improve the quality of your connection.

If you have questions or would like help to connect to the VPN, please contact our friendly IT Service Desk at dts@reading.ac.uk, or by using the IT Self Service Portal, where we have useful guides to install and use the VPN. 

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