Troubleshooting your VPN connection

You can take some basic steps to diagnose any problems you may have trying to use Columbia's VPN. Before contacting the CUIT Service Desk, please take a look at these troubleshooting tips.

Even if your VPN connection is not working, you may still be able to connect to the Internet through your non-VPN connection. This can make it a little tricky to isolate the source of your problem.

Basic Troubleshooting Procedure

If the error you encounter occurs once you are running an application such as FFE, write down the error message and contact the CUIT Service Desk at 212-854-1919 or submit a ticket.

If you are unable to get a stable connection via the VPN, walk through the following tips.

  1. There are three different connection types in the drop-down. If one doesn't work, try the others. Depending on your situation, one may work while the others don't.
  2. Try restarting your machine. Sometimes a restart is necessary before you are able to connect using the VPN client.
  3. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the client. On Windows, you can uninstall by downloading the installer and double-clicking it. On Macintosh, you can drag the file called VPN Client to the Trash from the Applications folder. Reinstall the program following the installation instructions for Windows or for Mac.


By being able to reach this secure web page, you have verified that your password is working.

You cannot use the VPN service if your computer is connected via a wired Ethernet connection on campus. You CAN use VPN if you're connecting via wireless, or if you're using an off-campus broadband connection.

To determine whether you are connected through the VPN, check the IP address your computer has been assigned. If it's 128.59.248.x, 128.59.249.x, 128.59.250.x, or 128.59.251.x you're connected through Columbia's VPN. If it's some other address, you are not.

The Cisco VPN client officially supports the following software firewalls:

  • Cisco Integrated Firewall
  • Cisco Intrusion Prevention Security Agent
  • ZoneAlarmPro and higher
  • ZoneAlarm and higher
  • ZoneLabs Integrity 1.0 and higher
  • BlackIce Agent and BlackIce Defender 2.5 and higher
  • Sygate Personal Firewall and Sygate Personal Firewall Pro, Version 5.0, Build 1175 and higher

All other software firewalls may cause problems with the VPN. If your software firewall isn't listed here, turn off the firewall.

The Cisco VPN client contains a firewall. This is a very simple firewall that allows outbound network traffic and does not allow inbound network traffic. It is turned on and off from the Options pull-down menu on the main panel of the application. By default it is turned off.

Problems And Solutions

  • Problem: When installing, I get a prompt saying that the VPN client cannot be installed if the Windows IPSec Policy Agent is enabled, and must be disabled. Should I disable the Policy Agent?
    Resolution: Say Yes.
  • Problem: When trying to uninstall the VPN client, I get an error that uninstall can't run while a copy of the program is still in use. I'm instructed to shut down VPN client.
    Cause: User never restarted after initial install of client
    Resolution: Restart your computer and try again.

VPN Client Settings (for reference only)

Connection Entry: Columbia VPN
Host Name:
Enable Transparent Tunneling should be checked.
Choose Use IPSec over TCP
TCP Port: 10000
Peer Response Timeout: 480 seconds
Authentication: Choose Group Access Information
Name: Testradius
Password: [unknown]
Confirm Password: [unknown]
Connections: Leave everything blank
Stateful Firewall: (Always On) - do not check
Application Launcher:
Used to preset an application or program to launch automatically once the VPN connection is established.
Automatic VPN Initiation:
Ensure the Enable box is checked.
Retry Interval set to 1 minute
Windows Logon Properties: Ensure that Disconnect VPN Connection when logging off is checked.