Connecting Remotely

Internet access to the Brown Computer Science Department network is restricted by a firewall. The firewall protects our computers from outside attackers, but it also limits the ways legitimate users can access the department.

This page describes how to get at department computing resources from outside the department.

What does remote access let me do?

You can:

You cannot:

See the Remote Access page for information about connecting to the CS Department.

See Connecting in the CIT page for information about access from within the CIT building.


How to connect to the department and your home directory using VS Code:


  1. Have an active VPN connection.
  2. Open VS Code and select the "Remote Explorer" icon in the left sidebar.
    1. Note that you need Microsoft's "Remote - SSH" extension installed to see this
  3. Hover your cursor over "SSH TARGETS" (or whatever text is below "Remote") and select the + icon.
  4. Type: ssh <your_brown_username>
    1. Note that we expect you to have setup SSH through the department already as using VSCode requires you to have SSH key authentication.
  5. If this doesn't automatically start a SSH session, you need to then specify a remote window. If you click on the bottom left-hand corner, it should say "start remote window" and you can then choose if you want to create a new one or use the current window.
    1. If VSCode is saying "Connection failed" when it looks like you are connecting normall inside the terminal, you need to add "ConnectTimeout 30" into your ssh config under the fastx host.


Awesome, you should be connected now! (congrats) Now, let's access your home folder as your default directory.


  1. Select the "Explorer" icon in the left sidebar.
  2. Select the blue button "Open Folder."
  3. Select your home folder from the modal window

VSCode for Windows Users

If you are using Windows, you may need to do some extra steps to get this working. Please see the general VSCode extension guide for a further reference.

You will need the OpenSSH client installed for Windows, which you can install using these instructions.

Further, if you've used PuTTY you will need to convert your PuTTY key into an OpenSSH compatible key which you can do following these instructions.