Setting up VPN on iOS (iPhone or iPad)

The Northwestern VPN allows you to connect to the Northwestern network when you're off campus. There are two VPN clients you can use: (1) the native VPN client that comes with your operating system, and (2) the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.

Due to a number of factors, VPN clients may experience difficulties establishing or maintaining a connection in some situations or locations. Common examples include public wireless networks at cafes and bookstores, restricted networks at hotels and conference centers, and countries with restricted Internet access policies. In most situations where one of the VPN clients won't work properly, the other one will.

We recommend you configure both clients to give you flexibility, and the ability to connect to the Northwestern VPN regardless of your location.

Northwestern IT is aware of VPN access issues from China. We tried implementing workarounds by changing our VPN public IP. However, within a few days of these workarounds Northwestern VPN was blocked again by the Chinese telecommunications agency. At the present time, we cannot provide a solution to using Northwestern VPN in China because the Chinese telecommunications agency continually searches for and blocks Northwestern VPN servers. We have heard anecdotally from some people that using a third party VPN service has worked for them, but we cannot confirm which, if any services, will work.

Native VPN

  1. Tap Settings > General > VPN
  2. Click Add VPN Configuration and enter the following information:
    This image has a screenshot of the configuration page
    • Change type to L2TP
    • Enter Northwestern VPN in the Description field
    • Enter in the Server field
    • Enter your NetID in the Account field
    • Enter your NetID password in the Password field
    • Enter northwesternvpn (case sensitive) in the Secret field.
    • Select Done.
  3. To connect to Northwestern VPN, tap Settings, and then turn the VPN switch to the On position.

Cisco AnyConnect

  1. Download Cisco AnyConnect from the App Store. Do not download Cisco Legacy AnyConnect as it is unsupported.
  2. Open Cisco AnyConnect, then select Connections > Add VPN Connection....
  3. In the Add VPN Connection screen, enter the following:
    • Description: Northwestern VPN
    • Server Address:
  4. Select Save. You will be prompted to allow Cisco AnyConnect to use VPN. Select Allow and enter your iOS passcode if prompted.
  5. Select the slider next to AnyConnect VPN to enable the VPN connection. You will be prompted for a username and password. Enter your NetID for Username and your NetID password for Password.
  6. In the banner popup, select Accept.

See Also:

For additional assistance please contact the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) or via email at

Keywords:tablet virtual private network   Doc ID:62253
Owner:IT Support Center .Group:Northwestern
Created:2016-03-27 11:40 CSTUpdated:2019-10-21 08:16 CST
Feedback:  26   11