What do I need to access the wireless network?
You will need to have a computing device (e.g., laptop, PDA, phone) with built in wireless or capable of utilizing a wireless adapter card that is Wi-Fi Compliant with 802.11n or 802.11a/b/g. The product should have the 'WiFi' logo. If your wireless card is 802.11b only it is still supported on campus. You will also need a valid Gatorlink account to be able to log in to the network via the campus VPN service.
How do I configure my wireless network card?
Follow the installation instructions and activate the card, most cards will work with the default configuration. If they don't then go to the Troubleshooting page for more assistance.
What do I enter for the SSID, radio channel, and WEP key?
You should not enter any enter any of this information. If you do configure any of these settings you may not be able to access the network. Your client in it's default configuration should be able to automatically detect the settings it needs from the network. If however your card should require an SSID to be configured you should set it to 'ufw' as this is the SSID in use by the campus system. For further assistance on wireless client configuration go to the Troubleshooting page for more information.
How do I need to configure my computer?
Instructions on how to configure various Windows versions to use the wireless network are listed at the CIRCA's UF Software CD Wireless Connectivity Help page.
Everything is installed and configured, how do I get on the
Once your wireless card is active and you are associated to a wireless access point you need to log in to the network. This can be accomplished by one of two methods. The first is to use the campus VPN service. Use of the VPN will provide a secure connection across the wireless network and is the recommended method for connecting to the wireless system. If however the VPN client is not installed or not available you can log in to the network via a standard web browser. Simply open a web browser and you will be redirected to the login page. If for some reason the login page does not appear perform a full reload (usually [Shift]+reload) of your browser. Note that if you have the VPN client you do not need to log in via the web page.
What if I am still having problems getting it to work?
Check the Troubleshooting page for more assistance.
What if I am associated to a SSID other than ufw?
Check the Troubleshooting page for more assistance.
Where can I access the wireless network?
You can access the wireless service throughout Williamson Hall and in any of the indoor and/or outdoor areas where the service has been deployed. Go to the Campus Map for current wireless coverage areas. You should click on the technology link located in the upper left corner, in the blue square and then select wireless. The buildngs that currently have wireless coverage will be displayed in a darker color, the reddish outlined area signifies outdoor coverage.
How fast is the connection?
The connection depends on your wireless card, it is greatly affected by the environment, harmful interference, number of users currently on the access point and the access point itself. We currently have a mix 802.11n and 802.11a/b/g which will provide different levels of service.
What problems do wireless networks have?
Wireless systems are limited in bandwidth and they are a 'shared' medium. This means that multiple users have to share the network so the total potential speed of the network gets split among them. It also carries security concerns (see next section). To make matters worse there are problems that occur as traffic increases on shared networks that can render them useless. Additionally, there are problems that can arise from environmental conditions and radio frequency interference.
Are there security issues with using this system?
Yes, there are definite security issues associated using a wireless connection that all users should be aware of. The fact that a wireless network is a shared environment means that anyone within RF reception distance of you can see every packet you send. The expertise level required to accomplish this is quite low as well. For this reason you should never use any unsecured connections to connect to wireless accounts. The following uses would compromise your account userid and password if run over an unsecured channel that was under observation:
For these reasons we strongly recommend the use of the campus Virtual Private Network (VPN) system. The client software is relatively easy to install and is available for free for most operating systems. Use of the VPN client will help to insure the security of your network activity. For more information and to obtain the VPN client software please go to the VPN service page.
If for some reason you are unable to use the VPN connection there are application level services you can use to help secure your wireless communications. For e-mail use a web based e-mail system that offers an SSL connection. This service is available for Gatorlink email accounts at https://webmail.ufl.edu/. For remote host connections like telnet and FTP, utilize SSH services to provide a secure connection. It is a good idea to use SSH connections even with the use of a VPN connection to help ensure end to end security.
I've heard about encryption for wireless networks, what is it and
why aren't we using it?
We recommend using the campus vpn we are not using security methods such as WEP but have implemented an open authentication wireless network. The future direction is to use WPA2 which is more secure then the encryption methods have been in the past.
Can I walk around while accessing the network?
Yes, this is called 'roaming'. However there are limitations. Area of campus are broken into regions because of network infrastructure issues. If you don't cross the boundary of the region you are in you will be able to move around without loosing connectivity. If you should cross one of these boundaries you may maintain a wireless connection but you will have to reauthenticate via the WIPA process to access the network again. As we move to a centralized management or LWAPP implementation reauthentication will no longer be necessary.
(Adapted from the CNS FAQ)
This page was last modified on August 19, 2009.