IT ServicesStudents

Off Campus Access (VPN)

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the VPN and how can it help me use University IT systems off-campus?

VPN the Virtual Private Network, is a web based system which allows everyone at the University access to many services previously only available on-campus. No "firewall holes" are required and the system will work on different types of the computer from your home to locations around the world.

You will need to download and install the Cisco AnyConnect client. Users of laptops on the centrally managed Windows service will find the client pre-installed on their devices, users of centrally managed desktop PCs will find the software available in the Software Centre. Users of non-managed Windows devices as well as Mac users will find the client available on the Cisco AnyConnect VPN tab.

The new AnyConnect client can be installed on Android, Blackberry, and Google OS (including the ChromeBook) and Linux. Further information can be found on the on the Other Platforms tab: Support for Android devices is available from the PC Clinic and service desk to enable connectivity to wireless/VPN. 

If a laptop is locked down so that the user cannot install applications, they will have to contact their local (company) IT to aid in the installation. This is one of the reasons we have started communicating so early, so people have time to install / upgrade their clients.


Why am I getting an "Authentication failed" message from AnyConnect when my password works on other Loughborough resources?

Due to how different systems handle characters in passwords there are a number of characters which may not work on different systems.  

For the AnyConnect VPN client we have the following restrictions.

Regardless of which OS or client you are using you cannot log in if your password contains,

  • " (a double-quote character)
  •  \ (a backslash character)

If you are using the Windows AnyConnect client you may not be able to log in if your password contains one or more of the characters shown below,


How can I check which version of the AnyConnect client I'm currently on?

For Windows PC, launch the AnyConnect client and click the information icon:


For Mac users, launch the AnyConnect client and from the top bar menu click on " Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility client" and select "About Cisco AnnyConnect" from the drop-down menu:

Do all of my internet requests go through VPN or just those resources at Loughborough?

All of your Internet traffic goes through the VPN to Loughborough. This ensures that you can access Internet based resources such as journals and databases which could otherwise be restricted to on-campus use only. As such, please disconnect from the VPN when you do not need it and remember that when connected to the VPN you are bound by the University's IT Acceptable Use Policies.

If you have any further questions regarding this please do not hesitate to contact the IT Services' Service Desk.

How do I disconnect from the VPN?

To disconnect, right click the VPN icon in the System Tray and select Quit from the pop-up menu.

Screen image: Pop-up menu.


This will disconnect from the IT Services VPN cleanly and exit the application. Connecting again is as simple as starting the application as before.

[Note that if you click the icon, the client window will re-open with a "Disconnect" button. If you click this it does disconnect, but the application still exists in the System Tray, and you must still right-click and select "Quit" from the pop-up menu to close the application fully!]

University Resources

What IT systems can I access from home or off-campus location?

You can access many University systems from off campus, providing you have an active internet connection. You can access the Intranet, e-mail, Individual and Department's shared File Store using Web File Access. You can also use the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client to access many University systems as you would if you were at your desk on campus. This client is installed on all IT Services Managed Windows Service laptop computers and is available as an optional application on other Windows Managed Service desktop computers. Users of other (not Managed) Windows computers, or Mac OS X, or Linux, or various mobile devices can install the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.

Can I print while off-campus?

Yes, if you use the Cisco AnnyConnect VPN Client. This client is installed on all IT Services Managed Windows Service laptop computers and is available as an optional application on other IT Services Managed Windows Service desktop computers. Users of non-Staff Desktop Windows, or Mac OS X, or Linux, or various mobile devices can install the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.

Visit the printing webpages for information on off-campus printing. 

Can I access journals from off-campus?

Yes, if you use the Cisco AnnyConnect VPN Client. This client is installed on all Staff Desktop service laptop computers and is available as an optional application on other Staff Desktop desktop computers. Users of non-Staff Desktop Windows, or Mac OS X, or Linux, or various mobile devices can install the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.

Can I access my individual Filestore and Workgroups from off campus?

You can access your Individual File Store, group and shared workspaces, your department's Intranet or (staff only) the Learn server by using the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.

To use the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client you should connect to the VPN service and then map a drive as you normally would do on campus.

What can I do if I need access to a fellow staff member's email to deal with an urgent issue in their absence?

You have two available options:

  • IT Services are able to set up an auto-reply or change an existing one if the owner of the e-mail account is unable to do it themselves. This auto-reply can request that senders e-mail another nominated staff member and notify them of the recipient's absence.
  • A nominated staff member will be allowed access to the e-mail account with permission from the Head of Department. Please see the Acceptable Use Policy.

For further assistance please contact or telephone 01509 222333.

How can I access my University email off-campus?

If you have a computer at home you can read your University e-mail if you subscribe to an Internet Service Provider. If your requirement is just to read e-mail while away from the University, you can use the web-based e-mail system available from anywhere.

To access your e-mail simply direct your browser to

If you have Microsoft Outlook installed on the computer, you can also access e-mail via the Outlook client.

I cannot gain access to a particular resource, why is that?

We provide access to all IT Central Services, plus Remote Desktop and SSH (Secure Shell) access to all departments. If your department is running a local server, then we need to add that resource to our list. Please ask your local IT Support Staff to provide details through the Service Desk system.

Software Access

Will my software still be updated remotely via the off campus connection?

To ensure that IT Services does not deliver large software updates to users via broadband solutions that are subject to "fair usage" policies, we patch essential Windows and Office vulnerabilities only. Other software will be updated on return to campus.

I've tried to use a piece of license managed software and it has failed. What should I do?

Due to the licensing agreements in place for licensed managed software we can only grant access following a request from the member of staff managing the license server. Please ask them to check the licensing conditions and then e-mail with the IP address and port number.


Connection Problems?

If there are connection problems (e.g. you are at the edge of availability of a wireless network), then you may see a warning message in the task bar. The client should re-connect and you can continue working.

I cannot send email from home when I'm connected to the VPN, can I fix this?

For security reasons, IT Services prevents sending of unauthenticated e-mails through the VPN. If your ISP supports secure authenticated sending on port 465 or 587, then change your e-mail setup to allow sending through the VPN. Information on how to do that should be on your ISP's help pages.

Otherwise, we recommend queueing your e-mail, until you disconnect the VPN, at which point your e-mails will be sent.

When connected to the VPN using the client from a public WiFi hotspot, is my internet traffic protected from being intercepted and viewed (sniffed) by others?

Yes, other wifi users will not be able to intercept and view (in an intelligible form) your traffic while you are connected to the VPN using the AnyConnect client, as your traffic is encrypted between your client and the VPN server at Loughborough University.

Windows: I get an error message 'MTU Physical adapter is too small...' Help?

The MTU of the physical adapter is too small. An MTU of at least 1374 bytes is required for an IPv6 connection. Please contact your network administrator

Firstly to resolve the problem you will need to look at your Windows configuration for networking.

1. Go to the Start Menu > Select All Programs and Accessories > Right click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator (you may be prompted for your PC account's password or the username and password of an administrator at this stage).

It is very important you follow this step for changes you may need to make later.

2. In the black window which opens type the following command:

netsh interface ipv4 show subinterfaces

3. Press Enter. You will get back information similar to the below screen shot.

screen grab: Command prompt window - netsh information/MTU

screen grab: Command prompt window - netsh information/MTU

4. If the active interface MTU column value is greater than 1374, contact the Service Desk and raise an incident with the following information:

  • Version of Windows
  • Connection method (wired, wireless, 3g
  • Screen shot of the information (Alt + Print Screen Button)

5. To fix the problem (if the MTU value is less than 1374) Type the following into command prompt:

netsh interface ipv4 set subinterface "__NAME OF INTERFACE__" mtu=1458 store=persistent

Name of Interface can be found from the information asked for via command prompt earlier in step 3

6. Open AnyConnect again and log into the VPN. If it doesn't work then the user should raise a service desk case detailing the following:

  • Version of Windows
  • Connection method (wired, wireless, 3g)
  • Screenshots of the outputs of the commands detailed in the above steps and the following command

ping<> -f -l 1430

When I open the Cisco AnyConnect client on my Mac I get a message saying it is not optimised for my Mac. What do I need to do?

In a recent update to mac OS High Sierra Apple started to warn when out of date applications are used.  Cisco have released an update which means this error will no longer occur.  The existing client will continue to function normally but we recommend that users update to the latest version available from our site as soon as possible to ensure you're running the latest version which will no longer produce this warning.

When I try to connect to the VPN using the client I get the message: "Unable to establish VPN" or "Could not connect to secure gateway". What's causing this?

We have seen issues when using various Internet Security or Antivirus programs. IT Services recommends that staff uninstall that software and install Symantec, the University's recommended antivirus and anti-malware packagefor staff. This is available free of charge to download for all staff members of the University.

It is also necessary to disable any Internet Connection Sharing facilities that may be enabled as these can stop the VPN client from establishing a successful connection.

In Windows 7 and Vista: from Start select Control Panel and then enter adapter in the search box; under Network and Sharing Centre click View network connections; right-click Local Area Network and select Properties (you may be required to enter an Administrator password); select the Sharing tab and confirm that Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection is not selected.

When attempting to connect to the VPN service why do I get the error message "Failed to Initialise Connection Subsystem"? What can I do?

This may be because Internet Explorer is running in Offline mode. Please load Internet Explorer and check the Tools menu (or File menu in Internet Explorer version 6) to confirm that "Work Offline" is not enabled. Note: if you can't see the menu, press the Alt key. If turning off "Work Offline" does not fix the problem then please contact our Service Desk for further assistance.

Can I use the VPN/Remote Working Client on my Linux box?

IT Services provide limited support for accessing and using the VPN on Linux devices. Cisco make AnyConnect available for Linux, but the officially supported list of distributions is quite small. A number of users have found the OpenConnect ( client works well with our VPN infrastructure. When configuring it, the server name you should use is If you require assistance with accessing the VPN from your Linux device please contact the IT Service Desk.

I am using an anti-virus package which offers a secure traffic scanning feature and find that AnyConnect either does not connect or disconnects almost immediately after connecting?

The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client creates a secure network connection from your device to the University.  If your traffic is passing through a device which uses techniques to intercept the encrypted connection and examine the data therein then this can either cause AnyConnect to fail to connect or to break its connection.  IT Services recommends you either disable this feature or exclude traffic destined for the University's VPN service from the interception tool.

I use a secure web proxy on my device and find that AnyConnect either will not connect or frequently disconnects?

The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client creates a secure network connection from your device to the University.  If you have configured your device to use a secure web proxy (also known as an HTTPS proxy) then this can cause AnyConnect to fail to connect or frequently disconnect because it is unable to to create a secure connection directly to the University.  IT Services recommends you either disable this feature or exclude traffic destined for the University's VPN service from the interception tool.

Why can't I access other devices on my local network (e.g networked printers, hard drives, media centres and other PCs) when connected to the VPN?

This is because Enable Local LAN access (if configured) is not enabled in your client. Please click on the relevant link below for instructions on how to enable this:

Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7

Mac OS X (go to 'Launching AnyConnect Client' - Step 1)

When I try to connect to the VPN I get the error message "The VPN client driver encountered an error. Please restart your computer or device, then try again." or "AnyConnect was not able to establish a connection to the specified secure gateway. Please try connecting again." but restarting does not help?

This is often due to a piece of security software installed on the PC
interfering with the secure connection AnyConnect is making.  
On Windows 10 please go in to Settings, Network & Internet, Change adaptor options.
In the window which opens right click on the icon with "Cisco
AnyConnect Secure Mobility..." next to it and choose Properties.  
If there are any items in the list which mention "filter" or "firewall"
(see example below) please disable them and try again.  
If you are unsure please contact the IT Service Desk for further advice.