The virtual private network (VPN) technology allows users to join a private network from an existing public network. In its functioning, the Purdue VPN creates a secure tunnel between the Purdue University resources and your off-campus computer or mobile device. 

By so doing, it will allow you to access university resources and services that have been configured to be accessed by only the devices within the campus network. With such a solution, you will be able to access resources that are only available on campus from anywhere. 

Throughout this guide, you will learn why, and when you should use the Purdue VPN service. You will also learn the various ways you can connect to the service on Mac and Windows devices. 

Why Use the Purdue VPN Service 

Most of the resources on the Purdue University network are only available on campus. If you wish to access such resources off-campus, you will need to connect through a Purdue VPN service. You may as well map your directory to a drive on your home computer, hence be able to print anything to any campus printer remotely. 

The solution will let you access course materials you may not otherwise be able to access off-campus. The Purdue VPN service is accessible from anywhere on the globe and at any given time. 

When Should You Connect Through Purdue VPN?

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, you do not need to connect through the Purdue VPN service every time you need to access campus resources. As a matter of fact, most of the Purdue resources may be accessed remotely without a VPN service. 

This being the case, you should first try to connect and use your desired resources without the VPN. You should only connect through the VPN when you fail to connect without it. This will free up the service for use by those who really need it.

Some of the common Purdue resources you can access without the VPN service include: 

  • Office Applications 
  • Email
  • My Portal 
  • Success Factors 
  • Brightspace
  • Blackboard 
  • Google Drive 
  • R: and H: Drives
  • Concur 
  • Ariba 
  • WebEx
  • Zoom 

While this is the case, there are those Purdue resources and services that cannot be accessed or used off-campus. If you need to access such resources remotely, you just have to connect through the Purdue VPN service. Such resources include: 

  • Banner Admin pages 
  • Jabber Phone Client
  • Remote Desktop (especially to the office workstations)
  • Degree works administration tools 
  • Purdue Software Center 
  • Confluence 
  • Receiving Microsoft updates 
  • Cognos 

How to Use Purdue’s VPN Service 

How you connect to Purdue campus-only resources remotely will mainly depend on whether you have administrator rights on your computer. If your computer is administered by the IT staff in your department, you should contact them to have the VPN client installed on the computer. 

If you have administrative rights to your computer, you can download the Purdue VPN software from the Community Hub and then install it on your computer. ITaP manages the Virtual Private Network that you need to access Purdue resources off-campus.

To connect through the VPN service, you need to have a Purdue BoilerKey two-factor authentication. If you do not have a BoilerKey, you need to sign up and then print out the Boilerkey self-recovery codes. To do this, access the BoilerKey page, click on the Manage button, and then select the ‘obtain a list of BoilerKey One-Time Use Backup Codes’ option. 

How to Install the Purdue VPN Software

Before installing the VPN software, check its system requirements to ensure that your computer has the required patches and security updates. Again, you need to ensure that your internet connection is strong and reliable. 

To begin with, you need to install the Cisco AnyConnect client on your computer, as follows:

  • How to Install and Connect Purdue VPN on Windows 

If you do not have the Cisco AnyConnect client installed on your computer, navigate to Purdue’s VPN portal to download the latest version. You will be required to enter your career account BoilerKey passphrase, and username to gain access to the download site. Once on the portal, click on ‘Connect Me’. 

At this point, the AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client installer will try to install the software automatically through WebLaunch. If this does not work you need to download and install the software manually. From the WebLaunch page, click on the ‘Windows 7/Vista/XP’ link to download the client. 

Once downloaded, the following steps will help you install and connect the Cisco AnyConnect client: 

Step 1: Installing the Client Software 

Navigate to the Downloads folder on your computer, and then double-click on the ‘and connect-win-3.1.04072-web-deployk9.exe’ file to run it. This should display a License Agreement window, requiring you to accept the software terms and conditions. 

You should then click on the Install button, and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. If you happen to be using a university-owned computer and do not have administrator credentials, you need to contact the IT team to complete the installation for you. 

Step 2: Launch the AnyConnect Mobility Client

Press the Windows key to display the Start menu. Next, select ‘All programs’ and locate the Cisco folder. Now expand this folder and then click on the ‘Cisco AnyConnect Mobility Client’. In the text box that appears, type ‘webvpn.purdue.edu’ into the ‘Ready to connect’ field and click the Connect button. 

Now enter your career account username and Boiler Key into the password box before clicking on the OK button. You are now connected and an icon representing this connection may appear on the Taskbar. 

  • How to Install and Connect Purdue VPN on Mac 

If you are using a Mac computer, the procedure for installing and connecting through Purdue VPN is a bit different. To begin with, you should check to see whether Purdue VPN is already configured on your computer. In this regard, you should look for the VPN icon on the top-right corner of your Mac.

If this icon exists, the computer is already configured, in which case you only need to click on ‘Connect Purdue VPN’ to connect through the service. If the VPN is not configured, the following steps will help you configure the Purdue VPN connection:

Step 1: Unlock Network Options  

Click on the Apple Icon, located on the top-left corner of the screen, and then select the ‘System Preferences option. Next, you should click on the ‘Network’ icon on the window that pops up. Check to see whether the ‘Lock’ icon is unlocked. If not, unlock it before proceeding. 

Step 2: Add the VPN 

Now click on the plus (+) sign, just above the lock icon to add the Purdue VPN. Next, select the ‘VPN’ option for the interface field. For the VPN Type field, you need to select the ‘L2TP over IPSec’ option. You should then enter ‘Purdue VPN’ under the Service Name field. 

Once you are done, click on the Create button to save the changes. On the next screen, enter ‘l2tp.purdue.edu’ into the Server Address field. For the Account Name field, enter your Purdue user name (type the username without the @purdue.edu part).

Having entered these details, you should click on the ‘Authentication Settings’ button. 

Step 3: Authentication 

At this point, you will be prompted to authenticate the connection. Just enter your Purdue Password into the Password field. For the Shared Secret section, you need to enter ‘PurdueVPN’ (this field is case sensitive, so be sure to enter it as it appears here). Now click on the OK button to proceed. 

Navigate back to the Menu bar and check the ‘Show VPN Status’ box. This operation should display a new icon on the top-right corner of your Mac. Now click the Apply button and close the window. Having completed the one-time configuration process for Purdue VPN, your Mac is now ready to access Purdue resources remotely. 

How to Disconnect AnyConnect VPN 

As mentioned earlier in this Purdue VPN review, some Purdue resources can be accessed off-campus without the need for a VPN. It is advisable to keep the VPN disconnected whenever you are not using it. To do this, find the AnyConnect icon on the Menu Bar in Mac, or on the System Tray in Windows. 

If you are using a Windows computer, you need to right-click on this icon and select Disconnect. In Mac, you need to click on the AnyConnect icon, and then select the ‘Disconnect’ option from the context menu. 

Mapping Network Drives Through a Purdue VPN Connection 

In addition to accessing on-campus materials and resources, the Purdue VPN connection may also be used to map network drives. Depending on the operating system you are running, here is how you should go about it: 

  • How to Map Network Drives on Windows 

With the Purdue VPN service-connected, launch File Explorer on your desktop. This can be accomplished by clicking on the yellow envelope icon usually located at the bottom of the screen. Next, right-click on the ‘My PC’ or ‘This PC’ option from the left-hand sidebar, depending on the Windows version you are running. 

Select the ‘Map network drive’ from the context menu that appears. Click on the drop-down menu on the window that comes up and select a drive letter (choose any letter that has not been used). For instance, you may choose Z to map the Z drive to your personal Purdue documents. 

Next, you need to enter the exact location of the folder you would like to connect to, such as \\nas01.itap.Purdue.edu\myhome\username. Once you are done click on the Finish button. For remote connections and personal devices, you should include boilerad\ just before your username. Enter your username and password when prompted to do so and you are ready to go. 

How to Map Network Drives on macOS

Open Finder on your Mac computer and select ‘Command K’. Alternatively, you could just navigate to  Go > Connect to Server from the Menu Bar. Now enter the network pay for the folder you wish to connect to. This should map the network drives successfully. 

Final Verdict 

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have resulted in working remotely from their homes. However, some Purdue resources have been configured in such a way that they can only be accessed by computers within the campus network. 

Purdue VPN creates a secure connection between your computer or mobile device and the campus network. The VPN service connects you to the on-campus resources that are otherwise not accessible off-campus. 

The Purdue VPN service will come in handy if you wish to access such resources as Banner Admin tools, Student Information Support Services, and Institutional Research remotely. All you need to do is download, install and configure the Purdue VPN service on your computer.