VPN (Virtual Private Networking)

Williams VPN

Running the VPN client allows you to establish a secure connection to the college network.  Your computer acts as though it were here on campus.  Among other things this allows a keyserver connection to run Williams licensed software from off-campus. The VPN connection is limited to Faculty, Staff  and Students who are doing academic or administrative work.

For college computers the Cisco AnyConnect Mobility Client VPN is already installed.  For other devices (ex. personal, mobile, etc.) or to re-install on a college computer please click the appropriate OS to see installation instructions below:

    1. In the Applications folder open "Self Service" find and install the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.  Once installed you can find the App in the Cisco folder in your applications folder.
    2. When you first launch it You'll need to enter the Server Address: ssl-vpn.williams.edu  (this is a one time entry)
    3. You will then be presented with a login screen. Use your short username e.g. xyz13 without the @williams.edu and the password you use for email. Students connect to Student-SSL-Split, Faculty and Staff connect to Fac-Staff.

    NOTE: If you need to install the VPN client from off campus or on a personal computer please follow the instructions below.

    1. Download the VPN client, called Cisco AnyConnect, from the software download site   (look for Cisco AnyConnect on the first page). Click the Mac Download link.
    2. Log in to the Williams OIT download site using your short username e.g. xyz13 without the @williams.edu and email password.  Click Download. This downloads a .dmg file to the download location on your computer.
    3. Open the download then run the AnyConnect.pkg file. During the installation you may be prompted by your computer to authorize the install.  You may need to enter your computer login to approve.
    4. During the installation, UNCHECK all the optional components so that you are only installing the VPN package as noted above.
    5. When the install is done please reboot.   You will find the Cisco AnyConnect Mobility client inside the Cisco folder in your Applications folder.
    6. When you first run it enter the Server Address: ssl-vpn.williams.edu   (This is a one time entry)
    7. You will then be presented with a login screen. Use your short username e.g. xyz13 without the @williams.edu and the password you use for email. Students connect to Student-SSL-Split, Faculty and Staff connect to Fac-Staff.
    1. Download the VPN client, called Cisco AnyConnect, from the software download site.
    2. When you run it you will be warned that this is an unknown application.This is OK!  Click the More info link and choose Run Anyway.

      You will be prompted at least one more time as to whether you want to install the software.  Keep clicking Allow. You will have to reboot. After rebooting you will have the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client in your program list from the Start menu.
    3. When you first run it enter the Server Address: ssl-vpn.williams.edu    (This is a one time entry)
    4. You will then be presented with a login screen. Use your short username e.g. xyz13 without the @williams.edu and the password you use for email. Students connect to Student-SSL-Split, Faculty and Staff connect to Fac-Staff.
    1. On an iOS device (iPhone, iPad), open the App Store, then search for Cisco Anyconnect. You may get up to three results from the search. You’ll want to install the Cisco Anyconnect (not Cisco Webex and not Cisco Anyconnect Legacy).
    2. Open the app and choose Add VPN Connection.
      Click on Server Address and type in: ssl-vpn.williams.edu
      Click done to exit the connection editor.
    3. Now you have a connection set up for the Williams VPN.
      Clicking on the connection should ask you for your Williams user name (ex. abc1 or jsmith) then your Williams network password.
      Entering your network credentials and accepting the pollicy will connect you to our VPN
    1. On an Android install the following app from the Google Play store:
      AnyConnect ICS+ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cisco.anyconnect.vpn.android.avf
    2. Open the app and choose Add VPN Connection.
      Click on Server Address and type in: ssl-vpn.williams.edu
      Click done to exit the connection editor.
    3. Now you have a connection set up for the Williams VPN.
      Clicking on the connection should ask you for your Williams user name (ex. abc1 or jsmith) then your Williams network password.
      Entering your network credentials and accepting the pollicy will connect you to our VPN

You will want to make sure to disconnect from the VPN when you are done. Also keep in mind most things you need to do off-campus do not require a VPN connection. For a full list and instructions see the Working From Home FAQ.

If you have any questions call the HelpDesk: 413-597-4090 or email: [email protected]

Support Restrictions

If you run into problems either connecting or using keyserved applications, make a note of the circumstances. Check that your internet connection is running smoothly by opening a web browser. Write down any error messages you receive.

It has come to our attention that some colleges and universities do not allow an IPSEC connection out of their network. So if you attempting to connect to Williams from another school and are unable to establish a connection, please contact the HelpDesk at that school to find out whether they are automatically blocking it.

Web Browser Proxy

The VPN client and the proxy server, while appearing to meet some of the same needs, are mutually exclusive. You can not run the VPN client to connect to the Library databases. In fact, you should not attempt to run them at the same time. You will have to disconnect from the VPN before connecting to the databases. If this is a significant inconvenience, connect using the VPN, run the keyserved application you need, disconnect the VPN, then enable the proxy server. The keyserved application should keep running until you quit out of it.

Proxy server setup and technical support on connecting to the Library databases is provided by the Library. Proxy server documentation »

Also keep in mind there are many things you can do off-campus which do not require a VPN connection. For a full list and instructions see the Working From Home FAQ.