Remote Access

The university maintains a campus firewall which blocks access to all but a few nominated systems; for this reason, most PPE machines will not be directly accessible from off-campus locations. There are two ways to obtain remote access to such machines: by using SSH or by using the VPN.

The university also provides a way to access the Common Student Computing Environment (CSCE) and Standard Staff Desktop (SSD) systems remotely. Although use of such systems within PPE is limited, this may be of interest in some circumstances.


SSH (Secure SHell) is a protocol which lets you create an encrypted channel between two machines, and is generally used to access Linux machines remotely. Both command-line and graphical applications can be run over an SSH connection, although the latter requires some additional configuration.

Connecting to a remote machine using SSH requires that your local machine have an SSH client application; running graphical applications over an SSH connection will additionally require that your local machine have an X server. Users of Linux and Mac OS X will have these provided with their operating system; users of Microsoft Windows will need to install additional software.

To connect to PPE machines, you should first connect to using your PPE Linux account. For example, using the ssh client under Linux:

$ ssh <USERNAME>

ppelx acts as a gateway, from which you can further SSH to whichever machine you actually wish to access. ppelx is a shared resource, and you should avoid running programs directly on this machine that may adversely affect performance for other users.


IT Services provides a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to allow off-campus access to services such as business systems which are restricted to campus use. When using the VPN, traffic from your local machine will appear to other university machines as originating from within the university's campus network.

The VPN service is available to staff and students with a GUID. More information is provided by IT Services:

It should be noted that even when using the VPN, SSH access to PPE machines will usually still require that you connect to first.

Remote Desktop

IT Services provides a remote desktop service which permits access to Common Student Computing Environment (CSCE, used in the teaching labs) and Standard Staff Desktop (SSD) systems from outside the campus network. PPE machines generally run neither CSCE nor SSD, and so this service is likely to be of limited use. However, should you be interested you will find further information provided by IT Services:

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Topic revision: r3 - 2016-04-20 - GordonStewart
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