Accessing Valpo's VPN - PC, Mac, and Linux

IT uses a system from SonicWall to provide Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology. This tool establishes a secure connection through an otherwise unsecure or untrusted network, and extends certain protected network features of the local network to remote or mobile devices.

The VPN has three methods of access: web-based Bookmarks, SonicWall NetExtender, and SonicWall Mobile Connect. Bookmarks are designed to provide access to individual resources (similar to browser bookmarks), while the NetExtender client and SonicWall Mobile Connect app provide full network access, as if you were physically located on campus. For example:

  • The "Valpo Intra website" bookmark provides a way to connect to resources like Campus Chronicle without the burden of multiple logins
  • With the SonicWall NetExtender client installed, a Windows 10 PC or a Linux computer will behave the way it would if it were connected to the Valpo network 
  • After installing the SonicWall Mobile Connect app on Windows 10, MacOS, iOS, or Android, it runs as a background process in either iOS or Android OS; there is no need to first log in through the website

This webpage provides a good overview of what VPN service is, and how it works:

VPN is Valpo-specific

Valpo's Virtual Private Network will only encrypt your connections to other Valpo systems. In order to protect your other online activities, you may wish to subscribe to a paid public VPN service like NordVPN or ExpressVPN (there are many others).

In This Article

Configuring Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Full VPN Access on Windows PC or Linux

Full VPN Access for Mac


Configuring Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Multifactor authentication is required to use Valpo's VPN client (on Windows, macOS, and Linux), similar to the way banks require a code you receive via text message to access your accounts. You can receive your one-time passcode (OTP) either via e-mail or using any free authenticator app, such as Microsoft Authenticator or Authy. If you would prefer to receive an e-mail at your Valpo Gmail address every time you connect to the VPN, skip ahead to the next section, either for PC/Linux or Mac. To use an authenticator app to receive your OTP instead, follow the steps below.

  1. Browse to and sign in with your Valpo credentials. Make sure that the "Domain" drop-down box is shows "valpo" as the active selection. At this point you may be presented with the QR code screen shown below, but if you are not, click on the circle with your initials in the upper-right corner of the screen, then choose Settings from the resulting menu. Click the "Bind Mobile APP" button to bring up a QR code like the one below.


  2. In your phone's authenticator app, tap the "+" or "Add" button to add a connection to Valpo's VPN server. The app will require access to your camera to scan the QR code that appears in your web browser, so grant those permissions if prompted to do so.
  3. Once you have scanned the QR code, your authenticator app will generate a six-digit code. Enter that in the box below the QR code and click the "Verify" button. Your phone's authenticator app is now bound to the VPN server.


The authenticator app will refresh the active code every 30 seconds! If there is only a short amount of time remaining on the current code, wait a few seconds for the app to show a new one.

Accessing the Full Network on a Windows 10 or Linux PC

This VPN client allows you to access to Valpo's network resources that aren't web-based, such as network file servers and campus printers. This option requires you to install a small software application on your computer. You should only need to install it once; thereafter, you will only need to login.

Below are the steps for installing the SonicWall NetExtender client, which is the primary software tool for interfacing with Valpo's VPN:

  1. Go to and select valpo from the drop-down box under "Domain."  Then, click the NEXT button and log in with your ValpoNet credentials.

  2. After logging in from within the Virtual Office VPN page, click on your account initials in the upper right hand corner to bring up the menu. From here, select Downloads.

  3. Select the "Windows.exe" NetExtender client if you are using a Windows 10 PC, or the 32-bit or 64-bit .tgz archive appropriate to your CPU architecture if you are using a Linux machine. Depending on your browser it will either prompt you to download the file to a location you can specify or automatically download it to a default save location.

    Compatibility Note

    DO NOT download the Secure Mobile Access Connect Agent (Windows.msi or Mac.dmg); they are not compatible with our VPN server.



  4. After the download process has completed, launch the installer, which will be called "NXSetupU.exe" in Windows 10. If you are installing on 64-bit Linux you will need to unzip NetExtender.x86_64 and launch the install executable contained in the archive.
  5. When you start the NetExtender application for the first time, you will need to enter in the Server field and valpo for the Domain field. (This information will be saved automatically for subsequent logins.)

  6. Authenticate with your ValpoNet credentials to connect to the VPN server. You will then be prompted to enter your one-time password (OTP) from either an automated e-mail or from your phone's authenticator app. If this is not yet set up, follow the steps for configuring Multifactor Authentication above.
  7. On Windows 10, a successful connection will be indicated by the Nx symbol in the system tray as shown below.

Closing NetExtender

If you close the NetExtender window it will minimize to the taskbar, but your connection will remain active. Click "Disconnect" to terminate your connection to the VPN server, and right-click on the Nx icon in the system tray, then choose "Exit" to close the application completely.

Accessing the Full Network on a Mac Computer

  1. Open the App Store from the Launcher and sign in with your Apple ID, if necessary. Search for “sonicwall,” then download and install the free SonicWall Mobile Connect app.

  2. Once the app has downloaded, open it from Launchpad.


  3. Click the “Add connection” button, then add the following information and click "Save".
    1. Name: Valpo
    2. Server: (click "Next")
    3. Username: your ValpoNet username
    4. Password: your ValpoNet password
    5. Domain: valpo

  4. To connect, make sure the "Valpo" connection you just configured appears in the drop-down menu and click the "Connect" button

  5. Enter your multifactor authentication one-time passcode (OTP), either from your e-mail or the authenticator app you configured for Valpo's VPN. Follow the steps for configuring Multifactor Authentication above if you have not yet done this.
  6. You are now connected to the VPN. When you are finished with your session, click the "Disconnect" button.


If you're having trouble connecting and nothing is working, you may wish to try uninstalling the SonicWall software, then re-downloading and re-installing it.

You can also try deleting the existing connection and creating a new one.

A number of users have installed the NetExtender client for PC, only to be presented with a message notifying them that the installation is damaged and that is must be reinstalled. In the vast majority of these cases, reinstallation of the client will still not resolve the problem. In these scenarios, the simplest workaround is to instead install the SonicWall Mobile Connect app from the Microsoft Store and use the VPN feature that is built in to Windows 10. Follow the steps below to set the VPN up this way.

  1. Download the SonicWall Mobile Connect app from the Microsoft (linked above)
  2. Open the Start Menu and click on the Settings tab, then choose Network & Internet. Select the VPN tab from the left-hand side of the window.
  3. Click the plus sign next to the text "Add a VPN connection".
  4. Choose SonicWall Mobile Connect from the drop-down menu beneath "VPN provider". The "Connection name" can be anything you want, such as Valpo VPN. The "Server name or address" line must be
  5. The rest of the fields can be left blank or pre-filled. Click the Save button at the bottom of the screen.

6. You will need to return to this screen to initiate a VPN connection whenever you need to remote in to Valpo's campus network. Just like with the NetExtender client, you will need to use a one-time passcode (OTP) during sign-in when connecting.


Note that you must use an authenticator app with SonicWall Mobile Connect! Sending a one-time passcode via e-mail is not supported by this app.

If you no longer have access to the device (perhaps the device was stolen, broken, lost, etc.) or the authenticator app that was bound to the VPN server, please use the following steps to regain VPN access:

  1. Log back in to using your standard Valpo credentials.
  2. You will need to verify that you have access to your Valpo e-mail account by entering a OTP sent to that address for authentication.
  3. Now, go to the Settings screen, "Unbind" the app using the orange button under "One Time Password Settings", then repeat the Multifactor Authentication setup process

  4. To avoid this scenario altogether, you can preemptively generate a backup code from the same Settings screen and store it somewhere safe, like a secure password manager.

Still need help?

For additional assistance, contact the IT Help Desk.