MathLAN Remote Access

Accessing a MathLAN workstation from Off-campus

Remote access to MathLAN workstations is facilitated by the FastX application. FastX will connect you to a full desktop session on one of the MathLAN workstations. You can connect to a desktop session through your browser or you can connect through the FastX desktop client. In order to connect to a workstation from an off-campus internet connection, you will need to use one of two gateways depending on whether or not you need to use a machine with CUDA installed.

Choose your gateway The gateway will connect you to a standard MathLAN workstation. The gateway will connect you to a MathLAN workstation in Noyce 3815 or Noyce 3819 with an NVIDIA GPU and the CUDA toolkit.

Choose your authentication method

FastX logins require Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). The FastX gateways are configured to prompt you for your password, then prompt your for Duo authentication. At the second step (Duo authentication) you may choose to receive a push notification or to enter a code from the Duo app on your device or a hardware token. Enter your code in the text field at the Duo prompt, or enter ‘1’ to receive a push notification.

Using FastX in your browser


Begin by directing your browser to the gateway of your choosing.

  1. Enter your Grinnell College username (do not include ‘’) and password at the login page and click “Log In”
  2. Respond to the Duo prompt by entering a Duo code in the text field, or selecting from the available options. (Entering ‘1’ will send a push notification to your registered device.) Click “Log In”

Launch a session:

Once you are logged in you will be able to launch a new session, or connect to an already running session.

To launch a new session:

  1. Click the ‘Launch Session’ button
  2. Click the XFCE4 button
  3. Click the ‘Launch’ button
  4. Your session will launch in a new browser window or tab, depending on how your browser is configured. You may receive a notice about FastX attempting to launch a pop-up window. If so, allow FastX to open pop-up windows so that your browser will allow FastX to open the window for your desktop session.

Reconnect to a running session:

If you have desktop sessions that are already running, you will see thumbnails for those sessions after logging in (on the ‘My Sessions’ screen.) Click on the thumbnail to reconnect to that running session. Sessions that remain idle for more than 3 hours are automatically terminated.

Using the FastX Desktop Client

A desktop client is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The client can be downloaded from the FastX website. (Note that you’ll need to use this link to download version 2 of the desktop client. You will not be able to connect using version 3 of the desktop client.)

  1. Launch the FastX application and click the ‘+’ (‘Add new connection’) in the connections window. Select ‘Web’.
  2. Enter a Name for the connection (like MathLAN or MathLAN-GPU), the URL to the gateway you’ve selected (either, or, and your Grinnell College username. Click ‘Save’
  3. Enter your Grinnell College username (do not include ‘’) and password at the login page and click ‘Log In’
  4. Respond to the Duo prompt by entering a Duo code or selecting from the available options. (Entering ‘1’ will send a push notification to your registered device.) Click ‘Log In’
  5. In the new window for the connection you just established, click the ‘+’ button. Select XFCE and click ‘OK’

Sharing a FastX Session

Share your session: You must be using FastX in a browser in order to initiate a shared session. To share your session, click the ‘Sharing’ icon in the FastX toolbar at the top-center of your session. Check the ‘Enable Sharing’ box, and select whether anyone with the link can view or control the session. Then share the link with the individuals with whom you wish to run a shared session.

Join a session: To connect to a shared session in a browser, simply direct your browser to the link shared with you.

To connect to a shared session in the FastX Desktop Client, click the ‘Join a session.’ icon in the connections window and enter the URL of the session that was shared with you. Click ‘OK’ to join the session.

Troubleshooting Issues with FastX

There are a few common errors that you may encounter when attempting to launch a session with FastX. Please check the errors listed here, and if you don’t find a solution, please submit a ticket to the IT Services Desk by sending an email to

  1. “All Authentication Methods Failed” This error is usually caused by the username field containing the full email address of the login user. Reload the page to clear the error, then login using only your username, not your full email address. This error can also occur if your account is locked out due to an expired password or too many authentication failures. Those issues can be addressed at

  2. “Server Not Found” or similar errors can occur after clicking the Launch button to launch a new session. This occurs when your browser launches a new tab or window faster than FastX can start the new session. Simply reloading the new browser tab or window should connect you to your session.

  3. “Command failed: /usr/bin/sudo…” This error is caused by a misconfiguration on the workstation on which FastX is attempting to connect you to. This must be addressed by the system administrator. To assist in resolving this error, please submit a ticket by sending an email to Please include in your email the hostname of workstation you are connected to. You can find this information in the bottom left-hand corner of the My Sessions window.

  4. There have been reports of the ‘Sharing’ icon not appearing in the toolbar at the top of the FastX session. If this happens, you can share your session by going back to your ‘My Sessions’ window or tab. Your current running sessions will be listed. Click to select a session and the session’s information will appear. To the right, find the ‘Sharing Keys’ link. Clicking this link reveals the ‘Enable Sharing’ options.