Accessing Waterloo learning technologies from China

Students living and studying in China may experience slow connections, increased latency, and inconsistent access while using Waterloo learning technologies from China. Waterloo has engaged a cloud enterprise network service from Alibaba, a company operated within China, to improve network flows in and out of China. You should see improvements when using the solution for learning technologies (e.g. LEARN, Crowdmark, Bongo), though the degree of improvement can vary depending upon your home province and your residential internet speed.

About this service

  • The University of Waterloo provides this service using the Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network.
  • Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, is a Chinese cloud computing company, and subject to laws in China or surveillance by authorities in China
  • Alibaba Cloud's terms of service is available here
  • Use of this service is optional. You are under no obligation to use this service.
  • Alibaba Cloud doesn't hold, or have access to, any University of Waterloo records, including your university userid, student id, name, and email address
  • The University of Waterloo cannot ensure or warrant the security of Alibaba Cloud's product and services
  • The service is meant to be used  only for learning technologies in your courses  (such as LEARN, Crowdmark, PebblePad, Bongo), and only those applications are enabled through this solution. It does not lift restrictions on resources that are not generally available to you.
  • You may find the troubleshooting steps of the common errors here Common errors for the Alibaba cloud enterprise network solution

  • Here are a list of sites allowed through the VPN:

On this page

Accessing your login credentials

Students registered for fall 2019, winter 2020, and spring 2020 terms may use the following 'fetch my VPN password' tool to receive their special login ID and password,

How to connect on Windows 10 


  1. Download the 'vpn-ca-cert.crt' file and save to your Downloads folder. 

  2. Go to Start menu > search for 'Windows PowerShell (x86)' and right-click and select Run as an Administrator. Enter your credentials when prompted. 

  3. Open your Downloads folder > right-click and Copy the file path of the 'vpn-ca-cert.crt' file and save for step 4. 

  4. In PowerShell, copy the following four command lines and press Enter after each line

  5. Make sure your PowerShell outputs are the following before proceeding to the next section:

How to connect

  1. Go to Start menu > search for 'VPN' and click on VPN settings

  2. Select the network and click Connect.
  3. Enter the special VPN username and password provided. You will now be connected to the VPN. Do not enter your normal University of Waterloo username and password. 


How to connect on MacOS


  1. Download the 'vpn-ios-or-mac.mobileconfig' file onto your device. Click the file to open. 

  2. Click Continue in the pop-up windows. 

  3. Enter the username and password. Click Install

  4. If prompted, enter your computer username and password to allow for changes to be made. The profile will then be added. 

How to connect

  1. To the Apple menu > System Preferences

  2. Click and open Network

  3. Select the connection named '' and click Connect. You will now be connected to the VPN. 

How to connect on Ubuntu 


  1. Download the '' and 'vpn-ca-cert.crt' files and save them in the same directory. In this guide, they've been saved to ~/Documents/VPN/. 
  2. Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the files.
    1. In your file manager, go to that directory, right-click on the background (not the files) and choose Open in Terminal.
  3. Check for updates to your programs with:

    You will be prompted for your computer password. Type it in and press Enter. This will run for a few minutes. 

  4. Change the permissions of the shell script (.sh file) using:

  5. Run the shell script as root using:

    1. Enter your VPN username. 
    2. Enter your VPN password.  

  6. Your computer will now install strongSwan and some dependencies. This may take several minutes. Once you see the text as below, you have successfully installed the VPN client.

  7. Restart your computer. 

How to connect

  1. Open a new Terminal window.
  2. Run: 

    Enter your computer password. You will now be connected to the VPN. 

How to connect on iOS


  1. Download the 'vpn-ios-or-mac.mobileconfig' file onto your device. Click the file. A pop-up will appear asking you to review the profile in your device Settings. 

  2. Go to the Settings app > General > scroll down and click on Profile. Click on the downloaded profile, 'IKEv2 VPN configuration'. 

  3. Click Install. Enter your passcode if prompted.

  4. On the Warning screen, click Install
  5. Enter the username and click Next

  6. Enter the password and click Next

  7. The profile is now installed. Click Done

How to connect

  1. Go to the Settings app > General > scroll down and click on VPN

  2. Make sure '' is selected from the VPN list and switch the Status toggle from Not Connected > Connected. You will now be connected to the VPN. 

How to connect on Android


  1. Download the 'vpn-ca-cert.crt' and 'vpn-android-profile.sswan' files onto your device.
  2. Install the latest strongSwan VPN client app from the Google Play Store. 

  3. Open the strongSwan app. Click on the ellipses > select CA Certificates

  4. Click on the ellipses again > select Import certificate

  5. Locate and select 'vpn-ca-cert.crt' from the File Browser. Select Import Certificate

  6. In the strongSwan app homepage, click on the ellipses > Import VPN profile. 

  7. Locate and select 'vpn-android-profile.sswan'. Enter the username and password. Click Import

  8. Go to the Settings app > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > select the gear icon beside your connected Wi-Fi network > click the pencil icon on the top-right. 
  9. In the pop-up window, scroll down to Proxy. From the drop-down menu, select Proxy Auto-Config.  
  10. In the PAC URL field, enter ''. Click Save

How to connect

  1. Open the strongSwan app. Select the '' network to connect. You will now be connected to the VPN.