This document contains brief details of installing and configuring the Open Source VPNC client to access the IT Services VPN service on a computer running Linux.
VPNC is an open-source VPN client for Linux and other Unix systems which is compatible with the IT Services VPN Service. Note that we also provide a Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client for Linux. The VPNC client is supported only on a best-efforts basis by the Computing Services but may be useful on systems that are not supported by the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.
Please make sure that you have read the introduction and general requirements, which apply to all VPN clients, before attempting to configure your computer or mobile device to connect to the VPN.
1. Installing and Configuring the VPNC Client
As linux distributions vary these instructions will not take you step by step through obtaining and installing the software but assume you are familiar with installing software on your system. They do provide full information on configuring the software once it is installed.
1.1. Installing the VPNC Client
On many linux distributions you should be able to download and install VPNC using the package manager included with your distribution.
For Linux Debian or Ubuntu users, the package is in the
universe package repository. Ubuntu users can install
vpnc using the Synaptic Package Manager. Assuming you are using the default Gnome environment go to
[System] then open
[Administration] and finally
[Synaptic Package Manager].
vpnc and install it. If the package does not appear on the search list then check that the
universe package repository has been added and the list of packages has been refreshed. You may also see related entries for
network-manager-vpnc. If you would like a GUI interface to the vpnc program you can install one of these packages as well as the core vpnc package (
kvpnc is for the KDE environment).
Where you cannot use a package manager to install VPNC it can be downloaded from http://www.unix-ag.uni-kl.de/~massar/vpnc/.
1.2. Configuring the VPNC client
You will also need some group configuration information. Members of Oxford University can download a file containing this information from the Software Registration and Downloads page (select
[VPNC Client for Linux/Unix] from the list). This will display the VPNC Client for Linux/Unix page. Click on the
vpnc configuration file to display the configuration information you will need.
Once installed the client works straight away. Open a terminal and type:
You will be queried about the following things. Use the information provided in the
vpnc configuration file to respond to the prompts. You will also need your IT Services Remote Access account details.
Enter IPSec gateway address:
Enter IPSec ID for vpn.ox.ac.uk:
oxford[also known as the group id]
Enter IPSec secret for email@example.com:
******[the group password]
Enter username for vpn.ox.ac.uk:
*****[(IT Services remote access personal username)]
Enter password for firstname.lastname@example.org:
******[IT Services remote access personal password)]
(As noted above, the password information can be downloaded from IT Services.)
If all goes well you should see VPNC started in background (PID: xxxx).
If you type
ifconfig you should see a new interface tun0 with an Oxford IP address.
To disconnect type:
You can also save the connection settings in a configuration file so that you don't need to type them in every time you want to connect. To do this, type in at the terminal:
sudo gedit /etc/vpnc/oxford.conf
This will open the Gedit editor and create a configuration file. Make sure there is only a single space between a feature and a value. Note that this method requires you to save the passwords in plain text. So don't save any passwords to this file if you're using a shared computer!
IPSec gateway vpn.ox.ac.uk IPSec ID oxford IPSec secret PASSWORD Xauth username YOUR-REMOTE-ACCESS-USERNAME Xauth password YOUR-REMOTE-ACCESS-PASSWORD
Do not leave a space after any value before starting a new line. vpnc will treat this as part of the password if you do.
After creating this file you can connect by typing:
sudo vpnc-connect oxford
For more information on vpnc type: