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Android - using strongSwan client

Configuring the UIS VPN on Android using the strongSwan client.

The VPN service supports the built-in Android VPN client without the need to install any third-party applications. However the built-in Android client requires careful configuration to set up securely, including manual installation of various certificates. Some users may find it more convenient to use the third-party strongSwan client as this is considerably simpler to set up (eliminating the need to manually install certificates), albeit requiring the installation of an additional application.

Note: the strongSwan client may not be compatible with all Android devices, but should work on Android 4.0+ (including 5.0). If you encounter problems with this application, we recommend you use the built-in Android client.

Before you start, you will need to know:

  • your Network Access Token username and password
    – create your token on the UIS Network Access Tokens site and keep the window or tab open – perhaps in an adjacent screen on a separate device – in readiness for when you'll need to copy the username and password.

  • If you have been advised to use a Managed VPN, rather than the general University VPN service, you will need the VPN server hostname.  Available VPNs and their server hostnames are listed on the Managed VPN page.

To set up the VPN service using the strongSwan client:

  1. Install the strongSwan VPN Client application from the Google Play Store using the link.
  2. From the home screen go to the Apps Menu:
    home menu
  3. Find the new strongSwan application and start it:
    strongSwan app
  4. You will be presented with the strongSwan status screen, listing the configured VPN profiles (which will initially be empty). Press the Add VPN Profile button at the top:
    add VPN profile
  5. You will be prompted to give details of the profile (connection). Enter the details as follows and then tap Save:
    • Profile Name: Cambridge VPN
    • Gateway: vpn.uis.cam.ac.uk or, if you are using a Managed VPN, use the VPN server hostname instead
    • Type: IKEv2 EAP (Username/Password) (this should be the default option)
    • Username: The username for the Network Access Token you created for this device, in the format CRSid+device@cam.ac.uk – for example, abc123+myphone@cam.ac.uk.
    • Password: The password for the Network Access Token you created for this device.
    • CA certificate: Select automatically (the default)
    profile
  6. You will be returned to the strongSwan status screen and the new profile will be displayed. Tap on the profile (Cambridge VPN) to connect:
    configured
  7. You will receive a warning that the strongSwan VPN Client wishes to set up a VPN connection that allows it to monitor network traffic. This warning is normal and just Android advising you that your network connection will be redirected over the VPN. Tap OK to continue with the connection:
    warning
  8. The connection should now be established and this displayed on the status screen. A key symbol will also be displayed in the status bar at the top of the screen to remind you:
    connected

To disconnect

To disconnect, run the strongSwan application and select Disconnect in the status area:

To reconnect

Whenever you wish to reconnect to the VPN, start the strongSwan application and select the Cambridge VPN profile.

Contact

If you have any enquiries regarding UIS network services, or other University network topics, please send an email to:

UIS Service Status

Phone padded  Service status line: (01223) 463085
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