Juniper Network Connect on Mac

Recently my laptop decided it no longer wanted to start. While it was in the Genius Bar, I dug up an old Macbook Pro (called MBP throughout the rest of this post) and began to configure it so I could use it for work. Configuring a different laptop gave me the opportunity to try out some new/updated applications and see if I could find more ways to be productive (I will cover this in a future post). In addition, it brought up some old issues I had experienced and gave me a chance to fix them and document them. In this post, I would like to talk about the problems I experienced attempting to connect to a Juniper Network Connect (called JNC throughout the rest of this post) VPN and how I was able to get it resolved.

Issues with Chrome

On my MBP I use the Chrome web browser (I have an Android phone). One of the first problems I experienced with JNC is that I cannot use it with Chrome as JNC requires a 64-bit web browser and the production version of Chrome is still 32-bit. As such, I typically use Firefox to get on my JNC VPN and then Chrome for everything else.
UPDATE: Well look at that, appears I missed the announcement: Chrome is now 64-bit on Mac and JNC now works through Chrome! Thanks for the tip!

Issues with Safari

While configuring my MBP, I decided to give Safari another shot as I had not used the browser in a long time. When I attempted to connect to JNC, I was greeted with the following error message:

To view this web content, you need to install the Java Runtime Environment.

I was confused by this as I had already installed the latest version of Java 8 and the Java test confirmed my browser was working as expected. A quick Google search turned up this post, which suggested installing the Java package available here. Upon doing so and restarting my MBP, the error message was gone.
Next, I was presented with a different error message:

An error occurred while extracting one of the Network Connect components

I consulted Google again and came across this post. Reading through the comments, someone suggested modifying the settings of the Java JNC plugin with Safari so that it did not have to run in Safari’s sandbox. The exact steps were:

  • Safari > Preferences > Security
  • Under “Internet plug-ins” > “Website Settings…”
  • Select Java from the left-panel list
  • Under “Configured websites” select the Allow drop-down from your VPN URL
  • Select “Run in Unsafe Mode”
  • Select Trust in the pop-up
  • Select Done

Upon following these steps and attempting to connect to JNC, the VPN connected as expected! Wow, way too much work just to get on the VPN. After about ten minutes, I attempted to connect to a site behind the VPN and the site did not load. I noticed that JNC was not running! I fired it back up and it connected as expected. Again I was able to access sites behind the VPN. About ten minutes later JNC silently quit again. Looking to Google I found this post. Unfortunately, it merely had a workaround to the problem: use Firefox…

Avoiding the fat client

Now you might be wondering why I do not just download the JNC fat client and connect to my VPN that way. While this works, I use a single sign-on (SSO) solution, which allows me to authenticate once in my web browser and then be able to access everything that I need. Using the fat client would require me to authenticate twice. Now technically I have this problem anyway as I need to use Firefox and Chrome, but I was considering moving back to Firefox for a while, but eventually decided against this.


So it looks like the options are:

  • Firefox
  • Fat client

I look forward to the production version of the 64-bit Chrome…

© 2014 – 2021, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

8 comments on “Juniper Network Connect on Mac

Ran into this exact same issue. Seems to be a common problem. I then threaten to switch to firefox only to find different issues. Now i’m so indecisive. Do i use Chrome today, Safari an hour later, then switch to firefox?

Me too! Getting off Chrome for me will be challenging given my Android phone — more on that in a later post.

Paul Préfontaine says:

I don’t use Juniper Network Connect anymore, but the Chrome available through the stable channel update is 64 bit now.
“TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014 — Stable Channel Update / The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 39 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. Chrome 39.0.2171.65 contains a number of fixes and improvements, including:
• 64-bit support for Mac
• A number of new apps/extension APIs
• Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance”

Thanks! Looks like I was not up on my Chrome news. I just tested this and it worked perfectly. I have updated the post!

jairam says:

thank you so much. i just bought a new macbook pro and was trying to connect to work using juniper network and encountered the same problem as you did. i changed the safari settings like you suggested and it worked. thanks again.

Great to hear and thanks for the comment!

rimblas says:

Thank you, all your steps got a lot closer, however El Capitan must have added some extra restrictions because I still couldn’t connect. However, I found that the Pulse Secure product (found the download from Juniper) connect seamlessly and easy. It didn’t not require the disabling of certificates either. Hopefully this will help you and others.

Thanks for the comment! I believe I had it working, but since then I too have switched to Pulse Secure. I have not had any problems since.

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