Knowledge Base

Connect from outside of campus

Depending on your requirements, there are various options to access research software and to connect to our Unix/Linux servers from outside of the University.

 

1. Unix command line users: connect via act-ssh

Likely the most convenient method is to connect via our externally visible ssh server act-ssh.reading.ac.uk. There are two options for two factor authentication. You can use the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile phone, in a similar way as when you authenticate to UoR Microsoft services. Or you can set up ssh key authentication, which can be used to automate the process of connecting from your personal machine. We have provided detailed tutorials how to set up ssh key authentication and how to automate the connection process both for Windows and Unix (Mac or Linux) users here: act-ssh with MobaXterm – step by step guide and act-ssh for Linux and Mac users – step by step guide. In addition to shell access you can set up ssh tunnels and access many other UoR systems and services like data shares,  connecting to managed remote desktops, ‘remoting’ to your Linux and Windows desktop computers, accessing databases or web based services.

 

2. Remote desktop users: connect via web browser services

Other users might prefer to use our Windows Remote Desktop and Linux Remote Desktop. These services don’t require any extra setup steps, they simply use a web browser. Currently you can authenticate with your UoR password (there is no Multifactor Authentication). Access to Linux Remote Desktop will be particularly useful to those users who are used to the NX service. Connecting through the NX web player has less functionality than the desktop client and some users might choose to use the web browser based access when connecting from shared computers, and set up full NoMachine client on their home machine for regular working from home (connection can be done via ssh tunnel, see point 1, or using VPN, see point 3). RDS (Windows Remote Desktop) provides on campus and off campus access to a number of frequently used applications, in particular it provides some applications that can be used only on campus. It is also full Windows Remote Desktop with access to SMB shares (e.g. ndrive, collab shares, research data storage) and many other services available on the campus network.

 

3. Users of main campus services: connect via VPN

For information on connecting using the VPN (and who can use it), please visit the DTS remote working pages. Note that researchers, including research students, who work on our Unix systems will not need the VPN and can rely on the ssh connection via act-ssh or the Linux Remote Desktop. It should be mentioned that for security reasons the VPN does not provide unrestricted access to the whole campus network, but only the main services. Research staff and research students who work on Windows can now access software from home via AppsAnywhere, and some software packages are licensed to be installed on University members’ home PCs as well. Access to Unix and Windows data storage is/will be provided by Managed File Transfer (MFT) and act-ssh.

 

Frequently asked questions

You can find answers to some frequently asked questions in our FAQ guide.

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