GT – Shenzhen Computer and Internet Issues

  • VPN. Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential for working from China. Download the GT VPN tool from here. VPN allows you to access blocked domains (such as Gmail, Facebook, and Youtube) from China or secure websites in the USA or connect to license servers at Georgia Tech. VPN can slow down your computer however. All VPN traffic on Georgia Tech network is monitored by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Georgia Tech – Atlanta. It is best to turn VPN off if you do not need it. When using the GT VPN, the network will perceive you as being physically located in Atlanta. If you use another non-GT VPN tool on another device such as your smartphone, the other VPN may reveal to GT that you are physically located in another place (e.g., Taiwan). Thus the GT OIT security software may be confused in thinking that you are simultaneously in different geographical locations at about the same time and may disable your GT computer account to protect you from an “intrusion”.
  • Georgia Tech free software download with your GT login: Microsoft Office, VPN, SecureCRT, WinSCP, Linux, MATLAB, MATHEMATICA, etc.
  • MATLAB. Great news for Georgia Tech faculty and students! Matlab is now available from OIT for installation by faculty and students on their personal machines.  From off the Atlanta campus, you will need an internet connection and VPN connection in order to connect to the license server to run MATLAB each time. If you have successfully started MATLAB but lose internet connection or VPN connection, you will receive an error message that reads like “MATLAB has lost its connection to the license manager. Unless the connection is restored, MATLAB will exit in 18 minutes.” Faculty – We advise that you complete the download-installation-license activation process before you leave for Shenzhen. The installation is straightforward but it is possible to encounter some glitch with the license activation step, so it is best if you go through this process while you are in Atlanta with easy access to Georgia Tech OIT or computer system support staff in your department. It is possible for faculty to receive a stand-alone installation of Matlab even when not connected to the network. Check with your department’s computer support staff or the OIT.
  • Virus and USB drives. Computers from the USA may not be immune against viruses in China. It is easy to catch a computer virus in China if you plug your USB drive in someone else’s computer and then plug it back to your computer, or if you access a file on someone’s USB drive from your computer. The virus can slow your computer to a halt and is often difficult to get rid of. You may have to resort to reinstalling the entire operating system and all the necessary updates and all the software – that’s days or a week’s productivity lost. Avoid using USBs to transfer files; instead, email as an attachment or use CD-R (ready-only).
  • Wi-Fi in the GT-Shenzhen offices & classrooms. Wi-Fi is available at the GT-Shenzhen offices and classrooms. Ask our office manager for the password. The Nanshan District of Shenzhen also provides free Wi-Fi to this and many other facilities throughout the area – you will need a Chinese cell phone number to receive the dynamic login password.
  • The export bandwidth problem. In general, you may find the internet speed to be fine when accessing web pages in China, but if you try to connect beyond China, the speed can be much slower. This is because “export bandwidth” (for internet traffic in/out of China) costs a lot more to the internet service provider than domestic bandwidth (for internet traffic within China). Thus the ISP may be less generous with the export bandwidth.
  • Broadband internet in private apartments. Most modern apartments in Shenzhen have broadband internet access via DSL or cable modem or fiber optic. If the service is not already in place, contact the landlord for installation of broadband internet access. In general, do not expect the internet speed in China to be the same as that in the USA especially when you are trying to access a website outside of China. That being said, if you find the internet speed from the apartment to be painfully slow, you can inquire with the landlord, whether a higher speed service is available.
  • Canvas. GT-Shenzhen students have full GT student standing and thus have GT email, access to the GT library database and Canvas, etc. If you would like to post course materials on Canvas, keep in mind that it may take you longer than usual to upload course materials to Canvas due to the export bandwidth issue discussed above.
  • The Great Firewall of China. Here is a list of websites blocked in China. The firewall is bypassed when VPN is on.