In the past, NCPA was a Google Apps school. Teachers needed to use a VPN to access their e-mail, calendar and documents, so we provided ExpressVPN as a benefit so that teachers could access their work-related files from home and other off-campus locations. We also provided the Cisco Anyconnect VPN, which connects users to the school network and its government-authorized commercial VPN.
Since the school’s founding in 2012, China has become more aggressive in blocking VPN services, and is fining individuals for using unauthorized VPNs. ExpressVPN has become less reliable, and our users report the least satisfaction with ExpressVPN among NCPA’s IT services according to our annual survey. By comparison, users report higher satisfaction with the Cisco Anyconnect VPN, which provides more reliability and better speeds for everyday tasks.
To mitigate the risk posed by these issues, beginning in the 2019-20 school year, new faculty will continue to receive access to the Cisco Anyconnect VPN, and will additionally be provided with home routers to extend the NCPA campus network to their homes using the SSID NCPA-Offsite. When connected to NCPA-Offsite, users have access to the campus network and its government-authorized VPN – it’s just like being at school. However, the school will not provide ExpressVPN, the use of which is illegal according to Chinese law.
Pilot users in semester 2 2018-19 report higher reliability and speed using the NCPA-Offsite router. It’s also more convenient because you don’t have to use a VPN app at home – when you’re connected to NCPA-Offsite, you’re connected to the internet via the campus network. You will still have a separate, non-VPNed WiFi network.
Returning teachers may choose to participate in this new scheme by completing the form below by May 15 at 4pm. Returning teachers who don’t respond will continue with their current benefit.