Remote Network Access Using VPN
The VPN Client
Students and staff can gain access to the Middlesex University network from their
own home computers using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) client. The VPN client is
a piece of software that you install on your PC and configure using either the staff or
student configuration files. You can be using any dial-up or broadband Internet
Service Provider – providing you have an internet connection VPN will allow access
to the university network.
What this means for practical purposes is that you will be able to access those
university web-sites which are normally restricted to users from within the university.
For instance, you would not be able to view the intranet (www.intra.mdx.ac.uk) from
your normal ISP connection, but when VPN is running and you have authenticated
with your Middlesex username and password you will see this site and others, such
as school intranets (e.g. http://mubsweb.mdx.ac.uk).
Staff will also be able to map their network H: drive to make it accessible on the
client computer, so that files you store on the network will be available to you at
home and elsewhere.
VPN is also used to authenticate users and allow connections to the university
network using wireless access at “hotspots” on campus – for more information about
wireless facilities please see: http://www.lr.mdx.ac.uk/comp/Wireless/index.htm.
Login to the Middlesex University Download Server from its home web page at:
and click on the VPN button on the main menu. There will be a page explaining in
outline what VPN is for, a page of legal requirements that must be read and agreed,
using the checkboxes provided, and a page of instructions on what to do next,
leading to the download directories for Mac, Windows and Linux.
You will need to download either one or two small configuration files as well as the
VPN client itself. The files you select will depend upon whether you are staff or
student and whether you need VPN for wireless access or not.
Installing VPN under Windows XP
Once you have downloaded it, double click on the vpn client .exe file. WinZip self-
extractor asks which folder you want the files in. Choose a folder and click Unzip.
Ten files are unzipped. Close WinZip.
Double click on the setup.exe file in the folder where you unzipped the files. This
enters an installation wizard. Go through the process, agreeing with all questions
and hitting Next. Finally, hit Finish and restart the computer.
The configuration files downloaded from biCSS are now needed
(mdxStudent_TP.pcf and mdxStudent_He.pcf, or their staff or wireless equivalents).
These give a choice of connecting through one of the VPN concentrators located at
Trent Park and Hendon. The concentrators are the first stage of identifying incoming
VPN calls and allowing logins to the ADS (Active Directory Server) which is the
second stage of security. To configure the VPN client for our network, run the client
then choose from the menus:
• Connection Entries
• Import – choose one configuration file from the folder where you
• Import again – choose the remaining configuration file from the
Now that you have Connection Entries listed you can make the connection. The
stages above are only needed once; when you use VPN in future you just do the
• Choose Connection Entries from the menu
• Highlight either of the two (it doesn’t matter which)
• Hit Connect
• Enter your usual network username and password
You will now have the VPN client running as a process on your machine. You won’t
notice any difference except for the icon in the task bar at the foot of the screen.
Whenever you try to access a Middlesex University network restricted web-site the
VPN client will allow access automatically with no further input necessary from you.
Mapping the H: Drive (Staff only)
You will need to know the full network path for your H: drive, which you can find out
when you are logged in at the university – use My Computer and look at the names
of the network drives. For the purposes of the following examples we will use the
path \\staff1.uni.mdx.ac.uk\person1$ where person1 is the network username. Your
own path will be either to staff1 or staff2. Make sure you have this information before
If you use a personal firewall on your home computer you may have to modify its
settings to allow the mapping to work. For instance with ZoneAlarm it is necessary to
lower temporarily the Internet Zone Security to Medium, so that under Zones you can
add the site student1.uni.mdx.ac.uk to your Trusted Zone. You may then increase
Internet Zone Security back to the recommended High setting.
The H: drive mapping can be done either from a Command Prompt window or from
Type a command of the form:
net use h: \\staff1.uni.mdx.ac.uk\person1$ /user:uni\ person1
using your own network H: drive path and account name. Then enter your network
Select Tools menu
Select Map Network Drive option
For drive: h:
For folder: \\staff1.uni.mdx.ac.uk\person1$ (use your own path details)
A window should appear asking for your username and password. Under username
enter uni\person1 (use your own username) and input your normal network
After mapping with either of these methods you will see your H: drive listed under
network drives in the My Computer window and can use it in the same way as a local
drive on your computer.
Email (Staff only)
Although you can readily access your university email account from any internet
connected computer using a web browser and Microsoft OWA (Outlook Web
Access), you may wish to use another email client such as Outlook Express. To set
this up from outside the university you will have to be using the VPN client to be able
to set up the secure connections the system requires.
The details you will need for the Outlook Express account properties are:
Under the Servers tab:
• Incoming Server name is mdx-clx-dc1.uni.mdx.ac.uk
• Outgoing Server name is smtp.mdx.ac.uk
• Select IMAP as the incoming mail server type
Learning Resources – supporting students through their studies
ILRS – supporting Middlesex students through their studies