background image
  • FAQ

Information Technology

  •  
  • IT Services: C D E G H I L M P Q R S T V W
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    1. What is a VPN and how does it relate to MSUM-Wireless?
      VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Typically, a VPN is used to establish a secure network tunnel between two points through the use of strong encryption. Historically, this technology has been used to securely connect employees at home on the Internet with connections to corporate or educational networks that would otherwise be blocked by a firewall or would potentially compromise sensitive data should the data be transmitted in an unencrypted format.

      Security standards for wireless networking are still evolving with various vendors offering support for different standards on Windows and handheld device platforms. Some of these wireless security methods to date have been subject to compromise. MSUM-Wireless uses proven VPN technology to connect Wireless users and handheld devices in a more secure and consistent manner.
    2. My VPN Client randomly drops its connection when I do not want it to disconnect. Can I prevent this from happening?
      1. XP Firewall - connection dropping after a few minutes
        Those using the Cisco VPN Client, on a system running Windows XP, with the Firewall feature enabled, may experience timeout problems (your session may disconnect within 5 minutes) if the following type of traffic is not allowed to pass through the firewall: UDP port 500.

        Any customers using a home router or "NAT" (Network Address Translations) box* should not experience any problems whatsoever. *Devices that are used to share Internet connections within the home - connecting to Cablemodem services (e.g. Cogeco) or High-Speed DSL services (e.g. Sympatico) - from manufacturers such as SMC, NetGear, Linksys, D-Link and Microsoft. Changes required to avoid timeout issues:
        1. Start->Control Panel->Windows Firewall Under the "General" Options Tab, ensure that the "Don't allow exceptions" is NOT checked). That is, you DO want to allow exceptions.
        2. Next, select the Exceptions Tab
        3. Select "Add Port"
        4. Specify a Name for this exception, in the "Name:" field (call it anything you like. Example: UDP500)
        5. Specify 500 as your Port number
        6. Select UDP
        7. Select OK
        8. Select OK again, to close the Windows Firewall window.
         
      2. We have also had cases where the wireless software for your wireless LAN card is outdated. If you continue to experience disconnects after applying the above fix, it is suggested that you update your wireless LAN drivers on your PC or laptop.
       
    3. What is the MSUM-DragonNet network?
      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.
    4. What does MSUM-DragonNet allow me to do?
      Students, faculty, and staff can use the MSUM-DragonNet network to access the Internet and MSUM resources, such as e-mail, without having to plug into a wired jack.
    5. 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.
    6. Who can use this service?
      Any current student, faculty or staff member with an active DragonNet 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.
    7. Is wireless access available in the residence halls?
      Yes it is. However, this access is not part of the MSUM-DragonNet Network. Please contact the Housing office to determine the steps in getting it setup.
    8. What are the requirements for using MSUM-DragonNet?
      You must be a current student, staff or faculty member with an active DragonNet username.
    9. How do I set up MSUM-Wireless?
      Information on requirements for use and instructions on how to set up MSUM-Wireless are provided on the MSUM Wireless web site.
    10. What hardware does MSUM-DragonNet require?
      To use the wireless network, a laptop computer or other portable device is needed with 802.11b or 802.11g wireless capabilities.
    11. What kind of wireless card should I buy?
      Any 802.11b or 802.11g network card should work with the MSUM-DragonNet network. 802.11g cards are backward compatible and will work with 802.11b access points you may have at home and vice versa. 802.11a wireless cards will not work because they operate in a different frequency range not compatible with the MSUM-DragonNet network.
    12. What operating systems are compatible?
      Supported operating systems include Windows 2000 or newer, and MacOS 10.2.8 or newer.
    13. 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-DragonNet networks, though performance may vary.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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-DragonNet network.