Remote Computing Resources

Remote Access Resources

This page describes computing resources used for remote access and instruction which  includes live online and hybrid video conference lectures, instructor and TA meetings, group collaboration, exams  and using  Remote Desktop to connect to  the departmental Remote Desktop Services servers to access UW licensed software to complete coursework, projects and research. Those students with insufficient internet service can participate by downloading recorded lectures, assignments, take home exams and UW licensed software to perform their course and project work remotely offline.   

The following information provides some advice and  tests to determine if your remote internet service is sufficient for online or offline work with UW and some links to resources for remote access and software download services. 

Is My Internet Service Sufficient for Online Use ?

Generally if your internet download and upload speeds are 3 Mbps or greater and your latency is less than 100 ms you can particiapte in most online activities to U Waterloo. Most people with good internet service and within 9000 km of Waterloo will have this level of service. Students in China and the far east are outside this 9000 km radius and experience restricted internet access issues. Therefore UW has obtained special VPN access for students studying in China to help alleviate these issues. 

To test your internet speeds and latency visit and confirm that your upload, download speeds and latency are suffcient for the activities below. To test your latency to UWaterloo visit

Occasionally your tested speed and latency are substantially less than the service level agreement with your Internet service provider. In this case we recommend that you try each of the following to restore your internet service levels and try the tests again: 

  1. Ensure all other unnecessary users of your home internet service are not watching videos are participating in online games.
  2. Ensure all operating system updates are applied and restart the computer.
  3. Restart you home router and Internet service provider modem.

If these attempts fail to restore expected speeds and latency then contact your Internet service provider to assist you with restoring your service level.   

The following table provides some estimates of internet download, upload speeds and latency requirements for remote online activities provided by the department : 

Activity Required Download speed Required Upload speed Required Max Latency
Webex Video Conference 3 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 100 ms
Webex Video presenter Audio Attendee Conference 3 Mbps 100Kbps 100 ms
Webex Audio Conference 30 kbps 30 kbps

250 ms

MS Teams audio conference 30 kbps 30 kbps 250 ms
MS Teams Peer-to-peer audio calling and screen sharing 130 Kbps 130 Kbps 100 ms
MS Teams Video conference  1.5 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 100 ms
Zoom Video Conference ( 1 screen)  2.0 Mbps 2.0 Mbps 150 ms
Zoom Audio Conference  60-80 Kbps 60-80 Kbps 250 ms
Zoom Screen sharing only 130 Kbps  130 Kbps  150 ms 
Remote Desktop text based applications ( Matlab, Aspen,Word, Excel Etc. )  30Kbps 30Kbps 100 ms
Remote Desktop Interactive Graphics ( Autocad Plant 3D, Solid WOrks etc)  3 Mbps 30 Kbps 100 ms

If any of your speeds or latency is insufficient then we recommend you download and install the software that you require from the links available in the following sections and restrict your communication to audio only with application and/or desktop sharing if required. 

Online Resources

For those with sufficient internet service the following table lists available resources and links to participate in online lectures and  remotely connect to UW computer systems to use site licensed software. 

Resource Uses How to Use Links
Remote Desktop Services Remotely connect to your UW office computer, Remote Desktop server or workstation. Use licensed software to complete assignments, projects, research, work and monitor/control experiments. 
  1. Connect your home computer the the campus VPN.
  2. Use Remote Desktop to connect to departmental Remote Desktop servers or your UW office computer 
  3. Run and interact with software on the remote desktop as if you were sitting at the console of the remote computer.

UW Keep-Learning site Latest information about all UW remote learning resources available to instructors and students. Visit

Webex Online Lectures, Recording lectures, one on one Meetings, Group meetings,Teams Visit sign in with your credentials, download the desktop app, join or start a meeting.

Microsoft Teams Online Lectures, Recording lectures, one on one Meetings, Group meetings,Group Collaborative communication and work, meetings, document storage, Sharepoint Visit and sign in with your credentials, download the desktop app and view the list of Teams for which you are a member.
Zoom  Online Lectures, Recording lectures, one on one Meetings, Group meetings Visit and sign in with your credentials then download the app for your device from the Download link at the bottom of the page. Zoom | Information Systems & Technology | University of Waterloo (
Learn Course resources, scheduled online lectures, assignment dropbox etc.  Visit and sign in with your credentials and view the courses and resources for which you are a member.
Library Remote access  Access UW library resources remotely. Visit

Offline Resources

For those with insufficient internet service the following lists available resources and links to participate offline by downloading recorded lectures and site licensed software and using third party software services.  

Downloading Recorded Lectures

Most instructors will be using Webex to record lectures and will provide links in Learn or email to you for the download sites. If receive links from your instructor for Webex videos click the link and sign in to Webex using your credentials, click the Recordings section then highlight the recording you want to download and then click the download button. Then download the  standalone Webex video player to watch the videos. If you receive links to .mp4 videos then you can install VLC player to view these. 

Lecture Recording file type How to watch Links
Microsoft Teams 
  1. Browse to the Files secion of the Team
  2. Double click the desired video clip to begin streaming
Webex .arf or .wrf
  1.  Sign into
  2.  Select Recordings, highlight recording then click download buton
  3.  Download Webex standalone video player

MPEG4 .mp4
  1.  Download .mp4 file
  2.  Install VLC player

Downloading, Installing and Web Services for Course Software 

Aspen and Matlab are required software for the Fall 2021 courses in Chemical Engineering. If there is other software you require for your course send email to for information about how to download the software you require. 

If you are unable to use Matlab and Aspen on the Remote Desktop servers  via the Online Resources section above due to poor Internet service then you can download and install and use them using the following instructions. To use Aspen and Matlab on your PC you must be connected to the campus network via Eduroam or via the UW VPN service.



Windows 10 computer. Linux or Apple users must use or a Windows 10 virtual machine to install and use Aspen.

How to Download and Install 

  1.  Connect to the UW VPN service 
  2.  Use Windows Map a network drive with different credentials to map the file share \\\studentshare
    1.  When prompted for your credentials specify them as Nexus\userid where userid is your Watiam/Nexus ID. 
  3.  Copy/paste the file from that file share to a folder or desktop on your home PC. 
  4.  Right click the file and select Extract all 
  5.  Open the created aspen12 folder and double click installaspen12.1.cmd file to install Aspen 12 and except all defaults.

Notes : This is a large file 6+ GB to download and install. Download times at 100Mbps internet speeds are 20-30 min. Installation times are 10-30 minutes depending on computer performance. 


To download or use MATLAB online:

  1.  Go to the University of Waterloo’s MATLAB Portal.
  2.   Click 'Sign in to get started' under the Get MATLAB and Simulink section. 
    1. If you have an existing MathWorks account (set up with your email), use your email address to log in.
    2. If you do not have an existing MathWorks account, or your MathWorks account was not set up with a email address, create an account using your email address.
  3.     Once your account is set up, you will be linked to our MATLAB license and will be able to:
    1.  Download and activate software on your personal computer.
    2.  Start using MATLAB Online from a Web browser without installing anything.