Getting by without a VPN client

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This page outlines tasks that many people feel they need the VPN client to use. We intend to fill this page with helpful tips, so please send mail to CELS Systems if you have a question that's not addressed here -- you may be surprised to learn that you don't need the VPN for something that previously required it. Also, the lab is trying to find ways to allow people access to internal data without having to use separate VPN software.

Authenticated Wireless

If you're on-site, you can connect to the Argonne-auth networks using your Argonne credentials. This serves functionally the same as a VPN or wired connection, but requires no approval or special resource access.

Using E-Mail

We support encrypted mail reading and sending. See configuring your e-mail client.

SSH Access

VPN is not required nor recommended to SSH access. See Offsite Access for details on which machines you can SSH to from anywhere in the world.


If you only need to read web documents, you can use the Web VPN at without installing anything. This uses your Argonne Domain Credentials.


Argonne has set up a portal at to provide access to many business systems. Choose the "Light version" and you won't need to install any additional software.

See Inside Argonne (on-site only) for more info. Note, those docs are on-site only, but Dash is available from anywhere.


Open a SOCKS proxy connection with the following command:

ssh -D 32000

Then configure your web client to use SOCKS proxy on localhost using the port number you used above (32000 in this example).

You can find extensions for Chrome and Firefox to quickly switch between these configurations.

Please note that as long as you have your SOCKS proxy on, *all* your web traffic is routed to the host through which you connected ( in the example above).

This is useful for reading journals that require your connection originate at Argonne.

Remote Desktop

If you're using a Mac or Linux machine, simply do the following on a commandline:

ssh -L

Then connect to "localhost" with your rdesktop client. When you're done, you can close the SSH connection.

Remote filesystems

For Linux see: The FUSE project and SSHFS .

For OS X, see: Macfusion and SSHFS for OS X (Note that you will need to reconfigure Macfusion to point to the newer SSHFS binary, the instructions are at that same link ) Also see: FUSE for OS X.


Linux and Mac users can print to our lpd server from wireless without any VPN. Windows users can copy the file to their home filesystem and either print from a linux workstation (terra, shakey, etc) or by using the Remote Desktop method above to connect and print from there.