On 2/16/2011 10:31 AM, Laurence Bates wrote:
> I am interested in the feedback that people are getting from faculty
> about using MSUís VPN access. Are they satisfied with the ease of use,
> speed and reliability of VPN connections or is the protocol itself too
> much of an inconvenience? I am also not sure whether VPN access is
> provided for Grad students. Any insights?
We have a fair number of people in our department that use it, and in
general we haven't had too many people have issues with it. We use it
because we provide access via network shares, and you need to go around
the blocks at the edge of campus to do that, which the vpn software does.
I've had fairly decent success with average users in our department
getting it set up from some directions I've written up for accessing our
domain shares. Speed seems to be as reasonable as one would expect for
off-campus access, although I do think it's slower in the evening than
the morning. We do seem to have some issues with MS office products
taking a long time to open things over the shares being accessed this
way (like 30-40 seconds to open a simple word document), but I think
this is something funny in how office opens files (office in general
seems to be slow opening things on network drives compared to what it
The two biggest things we run into that trip people up are:
1) It's best to use IE to install the vpn client. We've had very mixed
results using anything else to do the install (and at least for a while,
not a whole lot of luck at all using firefox).
2) Probably not applicable to you, but the one thing people in our group
tend to forget is when they authenticate against our domain they have to
prepend the domain name in front of their username (because our file
server and domain server are seperate machines). I'd say about 80% of
the problems we have with people having access problems from off campus
are solved when I remind them of this. (But I consider that good in a
way, because it means in general everything is working without much effort).
I'd say our average user is no more technically savvy than what you'd
find in a lot of other departments, so it seems to work out pretty well
for "normal" users.
Probably the biggest annoyance for us was when they started charging to
set up access for student employees and on-call employees. Obviously I
don't know what the real costs to the university are, but the monthly
fee to me seems a bit steep.