What is a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a mechanism for providing secure, reliable connections across the internet. The VPN uses authentication to deny access to unauthorized users and encryption to prevent unauthorized users from reading your private data while it is in transit. This allows users who are not on campus the ability to access campus computing resources-such as direct access to library databases and departmental resources-securely and remotely.

Campus VPN

The central VPN service provides you with a secure connection to Computing Science resources (such as the CS Intranet, shared drives, printers and other network resources) when you are on a remote network (wired network outside of CompSci, UWS, your home network, or out of town).

The instructions below are for accessing Departmental resources applicable to individuals with a current direct relationship (e.g., faculty member, graduate student, etc.) with the Department of Computing Science.  Others should consult the general IST information for Networking, including Off-Campus Access (VPN).


Follow these instructions for installing the Cisco VPN client on Windows, Mac OS, and mobile devices or Ubuntu. If you require further assistance with setting up the VPN client, the help desk analysts in CSC 1-32 are happy to lend a hand.

Logging In

To access systems within the Computing Science network via the campus VPN:

  1. Launch the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client
  2. Connect to vpn.ualberta.ca
  3. When prompted, enter your
    • Username: yourccid@cs (ie. if your CCID was babbage you would log in as babbage@cs)
    • Password: [CCID password]
  4. Click "OK"

If you log in without appending @cs to your CCID, it will still work, but you would only have access to resources which are available to everyone on campus, such as those provided by the library.