VPN - Connect2 in Engineering

Why VPN  | First Time | Using | Files | Terminal Session | Remote Desktop | Change Password | Session Length | Number of Sessions | Logout | Firewall | Updates | Help

Why Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) gives you a secure way to get access to files. The Connect2 VPN gives you a secure way to connect to Engineering College resources from outside of the college and off campus. You can use Connect2 to get secure access to files in your home directory and files in shares; engineering email; ICON course sites; the license server to run software; and Remote Desktop (for faculty and staff). Once you have the VPN correctly configured, when you use https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu (or https://vpn.engineering.uiowa.edu) your connection and session, which includes your password, is secure.

The University of Iowa also has a VPN so you can securely connect to University of Iowa resources. If you are at a conference where your access is only web-based, you can use the web-based connection to UI Anywhere.

The UI also has an iPhone/iPod Touch VPN client you might wish to use.

To get to the Engineering VPN, go to https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu after reading the First Time Only section below.
If you have a CCAD account, use https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu/ccad after reading the First Time Only section below.
If you have an IIBI account, use https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu/iibi after reading theFirst Time Only section below.

First Time Only - Set up Network Connect

What and Why

The Network Connect part of Connect2 must be set up so that you can access software that requires a connection to the Engineering Computer Network. Network Connect assigns an Engineering College network address to your computer via the VPN, thus creating a secure connection that makes your (wireless, home, dorm, or on the road) computer appear as if it were connected to the ECN. Your computer still has its local IP address and all network traffic not destined for the College network will still use your normal network connection. For example, your browser connection to the Engineering College Network would go through the VPN but your browser connection to YouTube would not. This local-looking connection allows you to run licensed managed software or the full Outlook client (not the OWA).


video tutorialThe first time you run connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu from your home computer or laptop, log in with an account that has administrator rights. Open a browser and go to https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu (or /ccad or /iibi)

connect2 login page

Enter your Engineering account ID and password. The Internet Security dialogue box asks for permission to Run or install software from Juniper Networks, Inc. Check Remember this decision and click Allow.

Next you see the Connect2 home page (part of home page shown).

connect2 home page

In the Client Application Sessions section, click the Start button at the right end of the Network Connect line. The screen changes to a message "Please wait... Launching Network Connect. This may take several minutes." You are asked to allow installation of a Java applet that will allow Network Connect to run on your computer. Allow the applet to be installed.

If you never get the request to install the Java applet, you may not have Java installed on your computer or you may be running an older version of Java. Go to the Java Tester home page and click the Test the version of Java your browser is using link on that page. Also at that site you can find out what version of Java you have installed and if your browser is set to run Java scripts.

After Network Connect has been installed, you can use it from a regular account. There is no need to log in again as administrator to use Connect2.

When Network Connect is running, there is a padlock icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

You can also install Network Connect separately and run it without using a browser.

Using Connect2

Start the Program

To get to the Engineering VPN, go to https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu
If you have a CCAD account, use https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu/ccad
If you have an IIBI account, use https://connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu/iibi

If you connect to the CCAD or IIBI VPN, note that the files you have access to and the screen that appear will be different than what is illustrated below.


On the Connect2 home page, you see that under Files you have quick access to your home directory (H: on Windows computers) as well as My Documents, which is the area into which Microsoft programs like Word wants to save files by default. Windows calls this area "Documents". Clicking on the H-Drive link opens a view of all your home directory files. In addition there are buttons to Bookmark Selected, Delete, Download, Upload Files, and create a New Folder. Clicking on the Unix-Home link opens a view of your Linux/Unix files. You have access to home directory files and can use them as though you were logged into your office computer.

  video tutorial 

You can use Connect2 to upload and download files to the computer you are logged into. If you need only to transfer files, you will find that a file transfer program like FileZilla is faster.

To use file shares, read your mail securely, or run Remote Desktop securely, start by starting Network Connect (at the bottom right of the Connect2 home). After running Network Connect, you can map shares in the usual way of mapping files. Use your home directory complete path name for the \\server\share entry.  For example, enter \\HawkID.drive.engin.uiowa.edu\HawkID  and use engin\HawkID for your login ID and, of course, your Engineering account password. Make sure that the Reconnect at login box is NOT checked. Also ensure that you disconnect the drive mapping before you shut down the VPN, logout, or turn off your computer. If you don’t, the connection to your home directory is still hanging open; that open connection can cause problems the next time you use Connect2.

To read email securely, start your mail client after running Network Connect.

Terminal Sessions

icon to add terminal sessionYou can create terminals sessions, similar to using SecureCRT. Click the icon with the "+" and terminal screen to create a session you can use whenever you use Connect2. Many sessions require using SSH Secure Shell as the Session Type; connecting to login.engineering.uiowa.edu requires a secure session.

Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop allows you to connect your local (home) computer to a remote (your engineering office) computer. For security reasons, you must start Network Connect before running Remote Desktop to connect to your on-campus computer. If you need access to files on the C: or D: drive of your office computer or if you want to run programs installed locally on your office machine, use Remote Desktop with Connect2.

Students who want access to a Windows lab machine should use VDI.

Change Password

If your password has expired, you can log in to the Connect2 VPN using your expired password. Go to Preferences (upper-right corner), then select the General tab. The resulting page lets you change your password by entering the old password and a new password two (2) times.

Session Length

If Connect2 sees no keyboard activity for 25 minutes, you get a dialogue box warning you that your session will expire in 5 minutes due to inactivity. Click OK to extend the Connect2 session or Cancel, as appropriate.

All Connect2 sessions are ended after 12 hours.

Number of Sessions

Each user of the VPN can have only one (1) VPN session active at a time. If you do not sign out (see Log out below) and only close your browser and try to start another Connect2 session within 30 minutes, you will get the message that there are no licenses available. That is because you are still using your one (1) license from the session started by not ended by signing out.

Log out

home and sign out icons in connect2

When you are done with your session, return to the Connect2 home page (click the Home icon) and the click the Sign Out icon. The Connect2 toolbar, as shown, is always located in the upper right of the Connect2 screen. If you only sign out of an application you are running and close the web browser without logging out of the VPN, you will not be able to use the Connect2 VPN again for 30 minutes.


If you use a firewall on your local (to the College) computer, that machine should allow the address 172.30.79.xxx for in-coming VPN connections.


New Network Connect clients are released regularly. ECS installs these updates and each time an update is installed and you run Connect2, your browser will ask about installing updates from Juniper Networks; allow installing those updates.

In August 2013, ECS added the option of connecting by using the address: vpn.engineering.uiowa.edu (connect2.engineering.uiowa.edu continues to be a valid address).


For help setting up or using Connect2, talk to the consultant at the Engineering Help Desk, 319-335-5055, 1253 SC.