How to Configure a VPN Connection in Windows 8.1

A VPN is one common method of extending a private network across the Internet and gain access to network resources from a remote location in a secure manner.  A virtual private network (VPN) is a private network that uses public telecommunications infrastructure, usually the Internet, to connect to a private network, such as a company’s internal network infrastructure. A VPN remains private by using a secure tunneling protocol and other security mechanisms including encryption. This ensures that only authorized users can access the private network and that the data cannot be intercepted by anyone else.



Windows 8.1 VPN Set Up




A virtual private network makes it possible to have the same privacy and protection when sharing network resources across WANs.  Many companies often use VPNs to communicate across multiple locations for both extranets and wide-area intranets.  Individuals may use a VPN to remotely connect to their office computer or server from another location.




Work Remotely Using a VPN


Configuring a Native VPN Client via PC Settings:



Configuring VPNs in Windows 8.1 got much easier with a new user interface for managing VPN profiles. You can access this interface in PC Settings where you will be able to create, edit and remove native as well as any 3rd party VPN clients.




PC Settings


Before you begin you will need to gather some information in order to configure the VPN:


  • The IP address (or domain) of the VPN server.
  • The name of your VPN connection as well as your account credentials (username & password).
  • Any technical element necessary for a custom configuration you might need.


Once you have this information and a working Internet connection, you can connect to a VPN server using the following instructions.



Creating a VPN Connection:  



Windows 8 Network Connection Settings



  • Open “Network and Sharing Center”
  • Go to the “Change Network Settings” menu
  • Choose the “Set up a connection or network” option
  • This will open up a connection or network, now choose “Connect to a workplace”



VPN Set Up



  • Click “Use my Internet connection (VPN)”
  • Select the VPN provider
  • This should prompt you to enter the VPN connection name
  • Enter IP address or domain of the VPN server in the Internet address field





VPN Settings for Windows 8.1



  • Select the sign-in method you would like to use to connect to the VPN, either “Smart card” or “One-time password”




VPN Login Info



  • Use your credentials to sign into the VPN
  • Choose to either Remember Credentials if you are on a secure computer to save your credentials or not for added security.  Choosing the Remember Credentials option creates a new Discovery Profile, which the client can use to connect to the VPN after the first successful login.  The login credentials will not be asked again for any future connection attempts.
  • Choose Save on the next step to create and add the VPN connection.



This is just one way of creating a VPN, here are all the ways a VPN profile may be created:


  • PC Settings: Create a VPN profile using the ‘Add a VPN connection’ option.
  • Desktop VPN create wizard: Use the “Setup a new connection or network” option under the “Networking and Sharing Center” menu and follow all the steps in the setup wizard.
  • PowerShell: Users can create a VPN profile using the ‘Add-VpnConnection’ PowerShell cmdlet




Windows Intune



InTune: Use InTune, the Unified Device Management solution by Microsoft to create a VPN profile. This app provides mobile device and application management, in addition to PC management capabilities from the cloud.



Connection Manager Administrator Kit copy



Connection Manager Administrator Kit: Create a profile using Connection Manager Administrator Kit (CMAK), a Windows server 2012 feature that enables the management of remote connections. Connection Manager uses profiles with specific settings that allow connections from the local computer to a remote network. This profile will have all the settings required for the user to connect and this user will not be required to input the the IP address of a VPN server.