Working from Home

After consulting with their superiors, MPIMG members can work from home - e.g., with their work laptop or private devices. Due to the separated IT networks, these services are not available to colleagues in the administration.

Please set up your home office and make all preparations before you work from home for the first time! There are different solutions available: Which works best for you depends on your work. Contact us at and we will help you out.

Retrieve and send e-mails

If you use an e-mail program like Thunderbird, you can also access your e-mails this way. In the settings of your mailing program, fill in the email address you got ftom the IT department. The program fill out the necessary settings for you.

Alternatively, your mail is also available via the web interface at

Access to the Intranet

The intranet is not readily accessible from outside the Institute, but the following proxy address grants you access from anywhere in the world after entering your user credentials:

The usual address will work, if there is a direct connection to the Institute network (by VPN or SSH tunnel, see next paragraph).

Video Conferencing

You may use software like Skype or Zoom, but for ad hoc video chats and conferences without installing any additional software, you are welcome to use You can use it directly from a current Chrome or Firefox browser but unfortunately not from Safari. Screen sharing is possible.

Just agree on a conference name with you partner(s) and enter it at or go directly to the url of the conference, which will be

Connection to the Institute network

A "Virtual Private Network" (VPN) establishes a direct connection from a network device such as a smartphone or PC to the institute’s network. With the proper login data, this allows your device to access internal websites such as the Intranet or the Twiki, to access subscription journals, and to connect directly to computers via SSH or Remote Desktop. Please note that connections to network drives or access to printers is blocked for security reasons.

Configuration in Windows 10

ECreate a new connection in the Network and Sharing Center. The correct menu item is "Connect to My Computer". Enter the address and your access data (default user name and personal password). You will then have to change the security settings for these connections in a second step. Select L2TP/IPSec as VPN type and check the box "Use pre-installed key for authentication". You can obtain the key from the IT department on request.

Configuration in macOS

In the system settings, select the network settings and create a new service with the plus symbol in the list. Select "VPN" and as type select "L2TP over IPSec". The server address is Enter your user name. Under "Authentication" fill in your personal password. The key (Shared Secret) is available on request from the EDV.

Configuration in Linux

A manual for Debian, openSUSE and Linux Mint for different desktops is available on request or on the MPIMG intranet.

Using the Secure Shell protocol (SSH) to establish a network “tunnel” to the MPI’s network is a viable alternative. Use the server as a gateway to indirectly access the institute’s internal machines via the command line. Check out this page for more information on the correct setup. You might also download data from these machines via SFTP. In case you know your way around the command line, you can get access to internal websites and journal subscriptions via port-forwarding. Virtual Network Computing (VNC) or Remote Desktop (RDP) can be used to forward the Desktop of your work PC to remote computers, but this requires the installation of a VNC server software on your workstation. Please get in touch with the IT Helpdesk in case you’d like to use VNC.

Remote access your own workstation computer

Windows computers in the MPI’s network may also be accessed remotely from any other PC (for example a computer at home). Your MPI workstation then appears in a separate window in the Remote Windows Desktop software.

Use the above instructions but meet the following requirements to access your work PC from home:

  1. leave your workstation switched on,
  2. establish a direct network connection (VPN or SSH tunnel),
  3. make sure nobody else is logged in at your work PC,
  4. remember the exact name of your work PC,
  5. the IT Helpdesk needs to configure this feature on the desktop system for your account.

Please note: The  name of the computer at the Institute has to be entered with the domain name (""). The same applies to the user name ("wis-net\username").

Use with Windows 10

In the program folder "Windows Accessories" open the program "Remote Desktop Connection". In the window that opens, enter the computer name and your login credentials. Printers and a local drive will be "passed on" transparently to the target computer if required.

Use with macOS

Install the Microsoft Remote Desktop Software. There you enter your computer name and the access data provided by the IT and connect to the computer in the MPI network.

Use with Linux

The program rdesktop can be used in various Linux distributions: rdesktop -u <username> -d wis-net <pc-name> The size of the window can be set, e.g. with the parameter -g 1280x1024.

Alternatively, VNC servers can be used, which can be useful to forward the desktop of Linux machines. As this requires the installation of a VNC server software on your workstation, please get in touch with the IT Helpdesk.

Access to files

Computers from outside the institute network can only access data that has been stored in network directories - such as project directories or the networked “home” directory of Linux users.

Access your data with an SFTP program (which has to be installed on your home computer). The files must then be downloaded to your local computer and then uploaded back to the network drive.

Examples for free SFTP programs are


Consider Owncloud/Nextcloud sync clients that synchronize data between your cloud storage and local directories. Install the  software corresponding to your operating system from the Nextcloud website and enter as destination address for the synchronization. You received the necessary login data (user name and password) when the service was set up for you.

Access to scientific data on Linux servers is easily possible via SSH and the gateway server


Personal data of the Max Planck Society may only be temporarily stored on private devices while you are working on them and must be deleted afterwards!

Large data transfers of several gigabytes and more should be avoided in order to not impair other users and our internet access.

The access of Windows users to “U:\” is very difficult and can only be realized with very much effort. The “C:\” or other drives on the workstation are not accessible from outside the network.

Access to laboratory equipment or device-specific computers or data is not possible.

Access to compute facilities

Access our clusters and other servers via the SSH gateway

Access to E-Learning platforms

Make use of your time at the home office and take online courses. We have institute wide access to LinkedIn Learning Pro – get access by writing an email to .

You do not need a "LinkedIn" account, but you'll need a "LinkedIn-Learning" account (which is basically an email-adress). When you receive an "invite" email and follow the instructions, just ignore any "create/connect LinkedIn account" popups.

Go to Editor View