Remote Access -Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Use VPN for a Secure Connection

Northwestern’s VPN service allows students, faculty, and staff to access University resources securely while using non-Northwestern networks to connect to the internet. The VPN does this by encrypting the internet traffic between the computer/laptop/tablet and the campus network. The user’s traffic appears to originate from within the Northwestern network.

A VPN connection is an extension of the Northwestern Network and subject to the University's Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy.

Important facts about VPN

  • Requires the use of Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  • 16-hour session timeout
  • Traffic from your device to the campus network is encrypted


VPN Options

Any individual associated with Northwestern and with a NetID may use VPN.  There are several VPN options.

General Use VPN – To securely access Northwestern resources when off- campus
For managed devices, your school or department will have automatically installed the GlobalProtect VPN on your University-owned device. No other action is required.  

For unmanaged University computers or home computers, or to use the VPN on a phone or other mobile device, you will need to install the client yourself. Please visit the Northwestern IT Knowledge Base for VPN set-up and use instructions.

Custom VPN Group* – Limits certain resources to only specific users
Custom VPN Groups are for campus organizations that want access to specific resources or applications limited to a pre-defined set of users.  This typically small set of users connect as a general VPN user with the VPN client on their device and are assigned a unique IP address from a group-specific block of addresses.  Their traffic coming from the group IP block allows them access to the pre-defined resources and applications.  These users also have access to all other applications or resources accessible using the General Use VPN.

Web-based VPN* – Limits users and resources
Some organizations on campus have a web-based VPN deployed which limits access of  a defined group of users to only a defined group of resources.  When these designated users log into the web-based VPN, they see bookmarks for the resources that are available to them.  Access to these resources is given via the web app and does not require a separate VPN application to be installed on their devices. Web-based VPN Access Page.

*Custom VPN Groups and Web-based VPN requires Northwestern IT involvement. To make a request, please contact your local IT support.  If you do not have local IT support staff for your area, please contact the IT Support Center.


Available to

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff





How to Request Service

Students, faculty, and staff should follow the VPN setup instructions located in the IT Knowledge Base.


Support Resources



Service ID: 50
Tue 6/28/22 3:06 PM
Mon 5/1/23 5:50 PM