Getting around a VPN tunnel to access the internet
Unless the network you are accessing has split tunneling enabled, chances are connecting to the network via VPN is going to kill your local internet connection - meaning no email, chat, or even worse, no Google. I've had this problem several times and just dealt with it. Recently, it got to be a problem as I needed to be able to demo some applications internally while on a remote server on a VPN, but that VPN connection killed my internet. After doing some research and finding out that there is basically nothing I can do about the VPN settings myself, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
First, some assumptions: you can install VirtualBox and have access to a licensed copy of Windows (Windows 7 in my case). The solution? I installed VirtualBox on my local PC, created a Windows VM with very minimal resources, and installed the VPN client onto the new VM. Now, to VPN into the remote network, I fire up VirtualBox, start my VM, and then on the VM connect to the VPN and Remote Desktop into the remote server. I can now work on the remote server on the VPN and still have my local internet connection up along with email and chat.
I was concerned about the what the performance and draw speeds would be in a setup like this, but so far, the performance has been about as good through the VM as it is from my local PC.