Information Services Division


China Connect

A service to help students in mainland China access UCL's teaching and learning resources. Please note that this service will be decommissioned by the end of 2023.

Planned decommissioning of China Connect (Update: 7 November 2023)

UCL commissioned the China Connect service during the COVID pandemic to enable students in mainland China to experience reliable and consistent access to the resources they needed to support their teaching and learning activities. This service proved invaluable during the pandemic period when teaching was delivered remotely. Since the return to in-person teaching and learning, there has been a marked reduction in use of this service and in August 2023 ISD announced a close-down plan for this service.  

Following feedback from stakeholders, and an identified specific demand for the service over the summer period, the life of the service was extended to facilitate this requirement.

ISD will however now resume its close-down of this service.

The next step to close down China Connect will be as follows:

1.      Bandwidth available for use on the service will be reduced from 300mb/s to 2mb/s on 15 November 2023.

If you have any queries or concerns about this change, please contact UCL ISD OneDesk.

What is China Connect?

China Connect is a service provided by UCL to enable students in mainland China to experience reliable and consistent access to the resources they need to support their teaching and learning activities. For a brief overview of the China Connect service, watch our Getting started with China Connect video.

How do I use it?

You need to download and install the FortiClient software on your computer. Software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Support for Android and iOS is currently under review. You will need to sign-in using your UCL username and password. See Connect to the UCL China Connect service for full installation instructions.

Help and Support

Please join the UCL China Connect DingTalk support group by scanning the QR code here. You will be prompted to download and register for the DingTalk appIf that group is unable to resolve the problem, then please contact UCL’s IT Service Desk.

Frequently ask questions

What does FortiClient do?

It creates a connection between your computer and London, via Shanghai, that provides reliable and consistent bandwidth.

Should I only use China Connect if I’m in mainland China?

Yes. You should only use China Connect when you are in mainland China. If you use it in other countries it will lead to worse performance and also take bandwidth away from users in mainland China.

What happens if I use China Connect outside mainland China?

If you use China Connect outside mainland China your internet traffic will firstly securely travel to Shanghai in mainland China and then back to London. Your connection will be slower and take bandwidth away from users in mainland China. Please do not use China Connect outside of mainland China.

Please check you have entered the connection settings correctly. See Check your connection settings for details on how to do this. If you still get a blank page please try again later, as sometimes the connection to the UCL login servers can timeout. Once you have successfully authenticated, UCL resources will load more quickly.

How much bandwidth and how fast?

Usage will be closely monitored to ensure there is adequate bandwidth. Packets of data should take less than 200 milliseconds (ms) to travel between Shanghai and London. This should ensure that synchronous (live) activities, such as video streaming and chat, perform well.

Will I be able to access everything I need to take part in teaching and learning at UCL?

Yes, you will be able to access all the resources that fellow UCL students working away from campus can, ensuring that you have the same high-quality learning experience.

How do I access UCL e-resources via China Connect?

Using China Connect alone will not give you access to UCL’s e-resources. While using China Connect, access e-resources via links in Explore, the links in your reading lists or the FindIt@UCL buttons in databases and when prompted log in using your UCL username and password. This is the same experience for any student when they are working away from campus and are not connected to the UCL network. If you have any problems accessing UCL e-resources, please contact the UCL Library e-resources team.

When should I use China Connect?

It is not mandatory to use China Connect, but if you are experiencing poor performance or have difficulty reaching resources when engaging in teaching and learning activities, you should use China Connect. Once you have completed your teaching and learning activities you must disconnect from China Connect to ensure that the resource is available to other students. China Connect must only be used to support your teaching and learning activities at UCL.

Is the content carried on China Connect being regulated or monitored?

Regulations and monitoring are as per UCL’s standard policies. Please take a look at UCL’s Computer Regulations Acceptable Usage Policy and Monitoring Computer and Network Use Policy.

I have a slow connection to the internet. Will China Connect help?

Probably not. China Connect only improves the performance of traffic moving between Shanghai and London. You still need to have a good quality internet connection in order to connect to the service in the first place.

I have a good connection to the internet, but accessing UCL’s services is still slow.

Please contact the IT Services desk, mentioning that you are using China Connect and describing which UCL service you are trying to access and describing the nature of the performance problem.

Does China Connect put me on the UCL network?

No, it terminates in London. If you need to reach a service only accessible from within the UCL network you should use Desktop@UCL Anywhere.

I cannot access the N: drive

Use Desktop@UCL Anywhere to access the 'N' drive

Can I use UCL VPN and China Connect at the same time?

No, you can only use one at a time.