Office of Information Technology

Linux VPN Services

Overview

The automated Cisco AnyConnect VPN provided by the University of Alaska Fairbanks has support for several Linux distributions through a Java-based client. The automatic installer requires Oracle Java version 6 or better and will not work properly with OpenJRE at this time. As of August 2011, all modern linux distributions use OpenJRE by default and will either need to use the manual bash script installer below or OpenConnect.

Cisco AnyConnect Automated Installation

For RedHat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop releases using the Oracle/Sun Java binaries:

UAF VPN

Statewide VPN

Cisco AnyConnect Manual Installation

In the case that the automated installation tool fails to detect the operating system due to Java incompatibility (the use of OpenJRE/OpenJDK), a manual installation of the client through the bash script below can be used:

Cisco AnyConnect Manual Installation Tool

The Installation Tool will need to be given execute permissions for the user (the equivalent of 'chmod u+x'). Then, run the installer with superuser access through a terminal.

OpenConnect

A free, open source alternative to using Cisco's AnyConnect VPN client is OpenConnect. OpenConnect is designed to support Cisco's proprietary VPN service while offering a more complete, integrated networking package on Linux platforms, through both a terminal and Network Manager. More information on OpenConnect can be found on the OpenConnect website.

Installation of OpenConnect

OpenConnect is usually separated into two packages: the standalone openconnect package and the Network Manager package. The openconnect package is the only requirement, but the Network Manager integration package is the interface being supported below.

Once you've installed OpenConnect and the Network Manager components, the configuration is fairly straightforward:

  • First, select Configure VPN from the VPN Connections menu under Network Manager
  • Next, click Add
  • A new window will pop up, select the Cisco AnyConnect Compatible VPN (openconnect) option
  • The Editing VPN Connection menu will pop up, there are only two settings that need to be configured:
    • Connection Name: change this to "UAF VPN" or "SW VPN" depending on which you choose to use
    • Gateway: change this to either "uaf-1.vpn.alaska.edu" or "swf-1.vpn.alaska.edu"
    • Save these settings
  • Now, connect to the newly configured VPN through Network Manager. You must click the connect icon before it prompts you for your University credentials.
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