Secure Remote Access: Accessing Online Resources with Network Connect


The Secure Remote Access Service provides students, faculty, and staff with the ability to connect to restricted University resources while off campus, using Wireless PittNet, or using Wireless-PittNet-Fast. The service encrypts traffic between a user's computer and the University's network. This page explains how to use the service in Network Connect mode. The Pulse client is the recommended method for establishing a connection in Network Connect mode.  

Before You Begin

You must be approved by your Responsibility Center Administrator to access Network Connect. To arrange to have the Network Connect role configured for your computer, contact the Technology Help Desk at 412 624-HELP [4357] or submit a request online.

Specific security features must be active on your computer while using the Secure Remote Access service. Before connecting through the Network Connect connection method, your computer will be scanned by a Health Check. The Health Check will check your computer for the following items:

  • Operating system is Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, Windows 7, or Windows 8.
    Note: Macintosh and Linux systems pass the health check.
  • Microsoft Automatic Software Update turned on so you can receive the latest security patches.
  • The latest version of Symantec Endpoint Protection with Live Update turned on so you can receive the latest virus definitions.
  • A software firewall must be installed and enabled on your computer.

Using the Pulse Client with Network Connect (Recommended)

The Pulse client is the recommended method for establishing a remote desktop connection to your office computer or for accessing departmental databases and servers that reside behind network firewalls. It is easier to use and delivers faster performance than the existing Network Connect client. You can download the Pulse client from the Software Download Service at My Pitt.

Note: Individuals with sponsored accounts are not able to download Pulse from the Software Download Service. The department sponsoring the individual's account will need to provide the Pulse client to them.

Using the Network Connect Client (Support Ends Sept. 30)

The legacy Network Connect client will be retired on September 30, 2016. If you are not currently using the Pulse client, you should begin doing so using the instructions above. If you need to use the Network Connect client, you can follow the instructions below. 

1. Open a Web browser to and enter your University Computing Account username and password.

2. Enter your University Computing Account username and password.

3. Select Network Connect from the Connection Method drop-down menu. If you do not see the Connection Method drop-down menu, proceed to step 4.

4. Click the Log In button.

Note: After you click the Log In or Sign In button you may see a security warning window asking if you want to trust the applet distributed by Juniper Networks, Inc. If this window displays, click the Yes button to proceed.

5. Start the application that requires a secure connection, such as a database client or KeyAccess.

Note for Mac Users: Systems running Macintosh OS X version 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 need to have Java Standard Edition installed prior to attempting to establish a Network Connect session.

6. After signing in, most Network Connect users will see "roles" that allow them to securely access network-firewall protected resources. Click the Network Connect role you want to use.

7. After selecting a Network Connect role, you may see a Welcome screen. Click the Start button. Once the connection has been established, a Network Connect icon (represented by a gold lock) will display in your system tray.

Once a Network Connect session is activated, TCP (including NetBIOS over TCP/IP), UDP, and ICMP network traffic from applications running on the remote workstation and with a PittNet destination will be automatically sent across the secure connection that has been established. To disconnect from the Secure Remote Access Service, first make sure to terminate any applications running on your computer that use the secure connection. Then right click on the Network Connect icon in the system tray of your workstation and select Sign Out. You may use the Secure Remote Access Service for a maximum of four hours at a time. After four hours you will be automatically disconnected from the service. You will also be automatically disconnected from the Secure Remote Access Service if your session is idle for thirty minutes.

Supported Operating Systems and Web Browsers

If your operating system or web browser is NOT on the following list, but still works with Secure Remote Access, please be advised that it is not guaranteed to be compatible with future service upgrades.

  • Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 8.0, Firefox 3.5 with Sun JRE 6
  • Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, Internet Explorer 7.0 or 8.0, Firefox 3.5 with Sun JRE 6
  • Mac OS X (10.5 and 10.6) Safari 3.2 with Sun JRE 6

Note: If you are using Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 8, you must turn on Compatibility View.

Tags: Help Sheet Network Secure Remote Access SRemote