What is a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public internet network. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks (off campus) as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network (on-campus), and thus benefit from the functionality, security and management policies of the private network (on-campus).  A VPN is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections, virtual tunneling protocols, or traffic encryption.

In other words it puts your computer on the Smith network from anywhere in the world.

What is Pulse Secure?

Pulse Secure is a client application that connects your device to the Smith VPN service (https://vpn.smith.edu/).  Once installed, the client provides connectivity to the VPN directly without the need to open a web browser and log in.   The Pulse app is available for mobile devices via the Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android (additional setup info here).  Please see the Smith College ITS TARA page on VPN for installation instructions on your Mac/Windows computer.