background image
  • FAQ

Information Technology

  •  
  • IT Services: B C D E I L M O P Q R S T V W
  • Wireless Access Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    1. What are wireless networks for?
      The wireless network is an extension of MSUM's wired network infrastructure, which provides increased mobility and flexibility for campus network users. The network consists of a number of 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n compatible wireless access points throughout campus.

    2. What do the wireless networks allow me to do?
      Students, faculty, and staff can use the MSUM wireless networks to access the Internet and MSUM resources, such as e-mail, without having to plug into a wired jack.

    3. Can I use any Internet application I have on my computer?
      Yes, although network bandwidth is regulated for peer-to-peer music sharing programs. You are advised not to set up shared folders without passwords. We also recommend having antivirus software and firewall software installed on your computer.

    4. Who can use this service?
      Any current student, faculty or staff member with an active StarID username can use the wireless network. You must know your password. Community patrons are not granted access. Visiting presenters and scholars must request guest access through the help desk.

    5. Is wireless access available in the residence halls?
      Yes it is. However, this access is not part of the MSUM wireless network. Please contact the Housing office to determine the steps in getting it setup.

    6. What are the requirements for using MSUM wireless networks?
      You must be a current student, staff or faculty member with an active StarID username.

    7. How do I set up MSUM wireless networks?
      Information on requirements for use and instructions on how to set up a wireless network are provided on the MSUM Wireless web site.

    8. What hardware is required?
      To use the wireless network, a laptop computer or other portable device is needed with 802.11b or 802.11g wireless capabilities.

    9. What kind of wireless card should I buy?
      Any 802.11a or 802.11g network card should work with the MSUM wireless networks. 802.11g cards are backward compatible and will work with 802.11b access points you may have at home and vice versa.

    10. What operating systems are compatible?
      Supported operating systems include Windows Vista or newer, and MacOS 10.2.8 or newer.

    11. Will my built-in wireless card work? 
      Some computer companies offer built-in products with laptops and handheld devices as an optional feature. As long as the products are compatible with the 802.11b or 802.11g standards, they should work with the MSUM wireless networks, though performance may vary.

    12. Do I still need a regular (wired) Ethernet card?
      Generally, the answer is yes. Most mobile users will want to use their computer on the wired network where available, in addition to the wireless networks. Wireless makes a great choice when the need for flexibility and mobility is required and also for basic Internet activities, but it is not as desirable when transferring large files or performing many simultaneous network activities.

    13. Can I set up a wireless network?
      No. Setting up wireless access point on campus (non residence halls) is PROHIBITED. Wireless technology is easy to deploy but is also easily misconfigured and can interfere with other MSUM provided wireless access devices. In addition, access points can act as routers or DHCP servers if configured incorrectly, which can disrupt service to other network users. They also can compromise security and privacy, because anyone within range of an unsecured access point could collect traffic. Essentially, open wireless networks allow unauthorized access to the university network resources.
      If wireless access is not available in an on campus area and you feel it should be, contact the MSUM IT department. Issues of security and privacy eclipse other issues, because anyone within range of an unsecured access point could collect traffic. Any port that is found to have an unauthorized access point attached will be shut down and disciplinary action will be sought.

    14. How secure is the wireless network?
      Wireless network security is a serious issue. Wireless is not only a shared medium, but also a medium that is broadcast via radio waves. Therefore, anyone with a wireless card could monitor network traffic, which could include passwords and account numbers, unless traffic is encrypted. MSUM does use encryption via the use of a CISCO VPN Client on the DragonConnect-Employees and DragonConnect-Student options ONLY. DragonConnect-Public is NOT encrypted and should be considered unsecured.

    15. What are 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g?
      802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g are standards in regard to wireless communication that have been developed by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). The IEEE is an international organization that develops standards for hundreds of electronic and electrical technologies. The organization uses a series of numbers, like the Dewey Decimal system in libraries, to differentiate between the various technology families.

      The 802 committee develops standards for local and wide area networks (LANs and WANs). 802.11 is then further divided. 802.11b, or Wi-Fi, is a standard for wireless LANs operating in the 2.4 GHz spectrum with a maximum shared bandwidth of 11 Mbps (megabits per second). 802.11a is a different standard for wireless LANs operating in the 5 GHz frequency range with a maximum data rate of 54 Mbps. Another standard, 802.11g, is for WLANs operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency but with a maximum data rate of 54 Mbps. 802.11g uses the same technology as 802.11b but the bandwidth (speed) has increased.

    16. Does wireless interfere with other devices?
      Yes, any 2.4GHz device that is near the wireless access point or wireless card can affect the performance and may shut off your network connection. These devices are usually microwave ovens in close range, cordless phones, cameras and other 2.4GHz wireless devices. Unauthorized access points can also interfere with the MSUM wireless network.