Accessing Maths systems from outside college...

For security reasons almost all compute systems in College are protected by a perimeter firewall so direct access from the public Internet is not possible. However, for members of the College there are several ways to access internal systems:

  • if you wish to access a Windows computer remotely you can use the college's Remote Desktop Gateway - see the ICT documentation for more details

  • you also can use the college VPN service which is a more flexible option for research users since it's not limited to accessing just Windows PCs. Using the Microsoft PPTP protocol, it is well-supported by remote systems running Windows, Linux and Android but is no longer supported by Mac OS X. It is also supported by most modern UNIXes such as Solaris, FreeBSD & OpenBSD.

  • use one of the Maths ssh gateways - this is probably the best option for most Maths Linux and UNIX research users since all of the generally accessible Maths home directory, file and data storage servers are mounted directly on the gateways. So you can log into one of these via ssh and access your data directly and better still, you can transfer files into & out of the various storage servers using scp or sftp without having to log into specific clusters or compute servers. For security reasons, most of these gateways use a non-standard access port so ask me for information about this if you don't already know what this is (it won't be stated here for obvious reasons!).

  • use the college's ssh gateway service - you'll need to sign up with the ICT Service Desk beforehand to use this service and more information can be found at the bottom of the ICT Remote Access page. To be frank, this service is of limited use to Maths research users since there is no direct access to Maths home directory, file and data storage servers, X-Windows forwarding is disabled (so GUI programs cannot be run remotely) and there is very limited local storage on this service. You can however make onward ssh connections to Maths systems from this gateway.

Some bespoke remote access solutions are available for specialist applications - these are not publicly advertised for security reasons but if you require a specialist remote access solution that is not available for general use, please enquire.

Andy Thomas

Research Computing Manager,
Department of Mathematics

last updated: 11.8.2020