What is Northwestern VPN? | Northwestern VPN Review

What is Northwestern VPN? | Northwestern VPN Review

Northwestern VPN service provides students, staff, and faculty of the university to have access to resources safely when you are connecting to the internet from non-Northwestern networks. VPN provides encryption using the internet traffic between your devices and the network of campus The traffic of users is located within the network of Northwestern.

This VPN service is used to concern the appropriate utilization of electronic resources policies of the university and is an extension of Northwestern’s network. 

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Here are some important facts about Northwestern VPN

  • VPN requires the use of MFA (Multi-factor Authentication)
  • It has a time limit of 16 hours for a session
  • Traffic between devices like computers, laptops, mobile, etc., and the network of campus is encrypted.

VPN Options

If a person is connected with Northwestern and has NetID will be able to use VPN. Here are many options to use VPN.

General Use Northwestern VPN 

This can be used to have secure and protected access to Northwestern resources while you are off campus

To manage devices, your department may have already installed a VPN that is Global Protect VPN on the devices of the university. No extra actions are needed.

For unregulated devices at your university or home, or to have access to VPN from your mobile phones, etc. you should have to install the client. For this purpose, first visit IT knowledge of Northwestern, based on VPN setups.

Custom VPN Group 

This is for a specific group of persons that can have access to the resources of the institute.

The Custom VPN Group is actually for the organization of campus, that must have to access some specific resources or we can say that there are some pre-defined users, this just allows them to have access. These specific users connect to VPN clients simply as general VPN users on the devices they are used, but they have assigned a unique IP address. These IP addresses are for a specific group that is assigned with the block of addresses. These IP addresses with network traffic can have easy access to predefined apps and resources. Along with this, all these users can have access to all the other applications by using a General VPN use.

Web-based Northwestern VPN

As custom VPN groups pre-defined users to have access to all resources, the Web-based VPN limits the specific users to have access to some specific apps.

Some organizations used this web-based VPN that ensures that only a defined group of users can have access to a defined group of resources. When these certain users sign in to VPN that is web-based, they will see a flap of available resources. They may access these resources by using the web app and do not require VPN applications separately to be installed on laptops or mobiles. This Web-based VPN just requires NetId of the page for authentication.

To use Web-based VPN as well as Custom VPN in Northwestern, involvement of their IT group is required. If you want to make a request, all you need is just to contact the local IT staff supporting team of a specific department or area.

Stay Secure During Traveling using Northwestern VPN

During traveling you must have to keep your devices to stay connected to your office and home. Here are some tips that can make your online experience safe while traveling.

Before You Go

Devices that have more commercial and research value, leave at home if not required. If it is necessary to bring devices then bring a low-cost device that can easily access to internet and resources of Northwestern along with email etc.

You must have to keep your data just on servers of the university and access your data via a safe VPN connection. Otherwise just save your important documents in the services of the cloud on your device, so that sharing and collaborating data may become easy and there will be no risk of theft.

  • Ensure the security of your device before traveling
  • Encrypt your device before travel, if possible.
  • Install software that will protect you from attacks and viruses.
  • Make sure all the applications and system is updated.
  • Enable all the security layers like timeout functions, locks and auto wipes, etc. that may be disabled at home     
  • Back up your data that may be required while traveling.   
  • Do not turn on the function of file sharing and printer sharing apps. These options may be used to access your device.
  • Disable the function of “remember me” which can automatically password in different apps. Use MFA if possible.

If you are traveling abroad, then keep in mind that some countries have restrictions to use encryptions within their boundaries. You may be forced to have access to devices that are encrypted by enforcement of the law, or they may take over that type of device on arrival.

Different countries have different policies regarding the privacy of data and the use of electronic devices. Your data may be monitored or accessed when you move through their networks that may include an email address, internet connection, or telephonic communications, etc. You can be searched or seized during the inspection and you even do not know that your data is being copied.

While Traveling

Keep your devices in your access and possession every time, or keep them in a locked box or a bag when you do not have to use them.

To have an encrypted connection to resources of the university always use Northwestern VPN on your device like laptop, mobile, or tablet. When you are at campus use eduroam to connect safely or you can also do the same while you are at eduroam institutes. If connections are unencrypted your communications may be at risk.

You must consider all the other devices other than yours, that they are insecure to use. If you have to use other networks in any condition, never enter sensitive information like passwords and credit card details, etc., and do not update or download new apps.   

Turn off the services of Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi, etc. when they are not required.

Do not share personal information on social media

Back on Campus

After reaching on campus, must change passwords and codes on the specific account you accessed during traveling. Make sure do not use the passwords that you have been using before or during traveling.

Reset all the devices that you have been using when you were abroad, especially those that are used on unsecured networks. Never copy sensitive data to your device that has not been removed after you return. Do not use or connect external devices like USB etc., without resetting them.


In this article, we discuss all the ways to ensure the encryption of devices while using Northwestern VPN to provide you with complete security.

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