UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Can I set up the VPN client to automatically connect at startup?

No, the Cisco VPN client cannot automate the login process.

Can I continue to print while connected to the VPN?

If the printer is physically attached to your computer, it should continue to work while your VPN connection is active.

If the printer is connected via a wireless or other Local Area Network, you will have to change a setting in the VPN client to "enable local LAN access".

You can also defer printing by choosing the "print to file" option to save the print stream on your computer, then print the resulting file after you disconnect from the VPN.

I use VPN but can't access licensed resources, or get incorrect results.

Products such as Google Web Accelerator and the Firefox plugin DownThemAll can make web pages load more quickly. However, they can also cause problems when using electronic information resources that the library subscribes to, such as journal article databases.

When you try to use these resources through a web accelerator, it comes between your computer and the website you are using, masking your UC Berkeley IP address and caching pages from the site for later use. Consequently, you may not get correct results or may not be able to log in at all. This can happen whether you are on or off campus, and even when you are using our proxy service or VPN.

For this reason, we recommend turning off your web accelerator before using our website, or setting it to ignore specific databases, etc. that you plan to use. Please see the Wikipedia article about Google Web Accelerator.

Can I use VPN on a Linux machine?

Yes. According to the campus IST Cisco VPN page, the client is available for the Linux platform. At this time the Library does not provide any installation instructions for Linux.

Does the VPN work on mobile devices?

VPN works on iOS devices such as the iPad, and should work on "netbooks" and other portable Windows and Macintosh computers. VPN clients are also available for some (but not all) Android devices. See our VPN for Android instructions.

Can I use VPN from a home network?

As long as your web browser supports SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), as most browsers do, VPN should work if your computer connects to the Internet via a home network. It has been used successfully with a number of wireless routers, such as Linksys, Netgear, Belkin, and Apple Airport Base Station (except the Graphite model).

How do I access library resources from off campus?

Anyone may access the library catalogs and most of the Library's web pages from any Internet-connected computer.

Some licensed electronic resources, such as e-books, journal article databases, and online reference tools, are commercial products with access restrictions.  UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff members, and some other individuals affiliated with the University, can connect to these resources from off campus using the library proxy or VPN.

For more information and setup instructions, see connect from Off Campus.

What is VPN?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that runs on your off-campus computer. After you log in with your CalNet ID and passphrase, VPN establishes a secure "tunnel" to the UC Berkeley network. When you use a VPN connection, your computer will have a UC Berkeley IP address instead of the one normally supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This allows you to use article databases, electronic journals, and other licensed resources found through the Library website and catalogs.

Who can use VPN?

To download and run the VPN software, you must be a current UC Berkeley student, faculty, or staff member with a CalNet ID.

Persons not affiliated with UC Berkeley cannot use the VPN system, but can use licensed electronic resources via public computers in the libraries. For more information, see connect from off-campus.

When should I use the proxy server or VPN?

Most electronic resources are licensed by The Library from companies in business for profit. The terms of our contracts with these companies stipulate that The Library allow only Berkeley faculty, students and staff to use these materials.

Consequently, when you are off campus you will not be able to access many of the online journals and databases that you could access while on campus, unless you use the Library proxy server or Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Note: For technical and contractual reasons there may be some resources that are not accessible from off campus at all.

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