A range of options are available for off-site access to University facilities and information. Choosing the best option will depend upon what task you are trying to do. This page provides a guide on which services to use and when. If you are unsure which service is appropriate for your needs then speak to the IT Service Desk.
You can access and use a range of tools and software from your home computer without having to use any special tool to put your device on the University network.
The University portal, MyBristol, www.bristol.ac.uk/mybristol, provides a gateway to a host of University information from anywhere via an internet connection. You can quickly access e-mail, calendar, timetables, Staff and Student Info, the University contact directory, My Student Bookmarks, Library account and much more.
MyBristol also provides a mobile view on smartphones.
The desktop provides a range of tools and services similar to those found on an open access PC on campus.
The remote desktop should not be considered as a replacement for a University computer but rather as a way to access certain tools that cannot be directly accessed online or installed on a home computer (see above: Access Google services, Microsoft Office and OneDrive as well as other software for home use)
The remote desktop provides access to:
The Remote Desktop Gateway service gives you secure access to your PC from on or off campus.
This service allows you to use your work Windows PC's desktop from any other computer. You can then use your work PC as if you were sitting in front of it. Remote desktop access to your own PC is particularly useful if you need to use software that is only available on your desktop and not on the Staff Remote Desktop (see above).
Please note: you need to request access to this service from the IT Service Desk. Your work PC must be left switched on and "locked" when accessed remotely. Please note that this prevents other users from using it locally at the same time.
An increasing number of electronic resources, such as ejournal publishers, allow you to login to their sites using your University of Bristol username and password. On those websites you will either be prompted for those details directly or you will see an 'institutional' or 'alternative login' link, (sometimes called 'Shibboleth' or 'Federated Access'). Once logged in you should see the University of Bristol logo on their webpages, showing that your identity as a member of the University has been verified and that you can access resources.
Please be aware that the University of Bristol is usually found under the letter 'U' in lists of UK institutions.
Shibboleth may not work for everything, some journal providers require that your computer's IP address belongs to a recognised institution. For these cases you can either use the Remote Desktop or Off-site Proxy services
The Student Remote Desktop and Staff Remote Desktop services provide you with a University desktop on your own computer or tablet, which works as if you were sitting at a computer on campus. You will be able to access journals and other library resources through a web browser on the remote desktop, (allowing you to search for and access information as if from the University network - important for accessing some eJournals).
The off-site proxy service is a way to make your computer's web browser appear to be on the University of Bristol network when it's not, such as when you are working from home. This enables access to many externally hosted online resources, including ejournals and is easy to set up in your browser.
Take a look at our in-depth guide for more information about the Offsite Proxy.
The Library's Accessing external electronic library resources and databases web page has further information on the subject.
The UoB Virtual Private Network (VPN) (UoB only) provides a 'tunnel' to connect from off-site to the University so that your computer is placed on the University network and your traffic to the University flows via the University.
The VPN service should only be used when other alternatives are not available or where IT Services have advised it. Generally, the recommendation is for staff to remote access their office computer from home (using the Remote Desktop Gateway) or to use the Staff or Student Remote Desktops.
These Remote access user scenarios may help you to understand the benefits of the different services listed on this page.
Please note: Staff should not process restricted data on a computer that is not owned by the University. Please see: Processing data off campus. It is possible to use the services below to access information and keep data secure. Please also see the University Mobile & Remote Working policy (PDF).
Updated 8 March 2017 by IT Services
University of Bristol, Computer Centre, 5 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1UD, UK - Tel: +44 (0)117 928 7870