PSU's Wireless Network
1. What is a wireless network?2. Where to get a wireless ethernet interface?3. Where is wireless at Pittsburg State University?4. How to connect to the wireless network?5. Is there a charge for student wireless access?6. What's available?7. What additional services are available or planned for faculty / staff?8. Will PSU continue to use wired connections?9. Can I install my own wireless access point in my office or dorm room?10. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
1. What is a wireless network? A wireless network uses radio waves transmitted through the air rather than wires to connect a computer or device to a network. This is similar to a garage door opener or a cellular phone. A wireless network allows the user to remotely access data stored in other locations. In order to use the wireless network the device must have a wireless interface. A wireless interface includes those integrated into laptops or PCMCIA / PC cards.
It is important to keep in mind that the signal strength and overall reliability of the wireless network can vary by location. Signal quality can often remain near 100% even when the signal strength is relatively low. The signal strength is affected by the distance from the access point to your device or interference from natural obstructions such as walls, floors, etc. Signal quality can be affected by radio interference from items such as microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, and wireless video systems. Sometimes moving the device a few feet may remediate any connectivity issues.
2. Where to get a wireless ethernet interface? When ordering a new laptop computer, an integrated wireless card should be requested. If using a laptop without an integrated or pre-installed wireless interface, one can be purchased that will plug into the PCMCIA / PC card slot. For either type of interface, 802.11g is recommended. 802.11b interfaces are also compatible, but operate at a lower speed.
3. Where is wireless at Pittsburg State University? Wireless access is available in all buildings and public areas across campus (e.g., the Oval), and also available in residential housing.
4. How to connect to the wireless network? The device must first have a wireless interface. See "Where to get a wireless interface?" for more information.
If using a PC running Microsoft Windows, start the utility that came with the wireless interface. If using a Macintosh, the Airport utilities that come with either Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X should be used. When asked for the SSID (Network Name) enter PSU in all capital letters. Save the settings. You should now be connected to the wireless network.
If using Windows XP, please note that the built-in Wireless Zero Configuration utility is buggy. It is advised to use the utility that is available on Service Pack 2, along with running the firewall. Effects of the bugs include, but are not limited to, frequent disconnection and reconnection. For more reliable wireless network access, please install the latest drivers and client configuration utilities available from the manufacturer of the wireless interface.
5. Is there a charge for student wireless access? Student wireless access is provided by a portion of student tuition, so there is no additional charge. Students should be able to use the wireless network in all locations where access points have been installed. It is highly recommend that any device connected to the wireless network have current anti-virus software installed.
6. What's available? Students will be able to access the following using their wireless device:
7. What additional services are available or planned for faculty / staff?
Office of Information Services (OIS) offers Virtual Private Network (VPN) services that will give faculty and staff secure access to most university resources over the wireless network. It is possible to use email clients (e.g., Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) and access printers through the VPN. The VPN also provides advanced security features and is necessary when accessing any kind of sensitive data. More information is available at https://go.pittstate.edu/vpn.help.
8. Will PSU continue to use wired connections?
Wired connections still provide a much higher level of security, service, and speed than wireless connections. As a rule of thumb, wireless access is supplemental to wired and should only be used when mobility is needed. Current OIS policy does not support the use of wireless connections on desktop computers unless a unique situation exists.
9. Can I install my own wireless access point in my office or dorm room?
No, there are only a few channels that the wireless network can use. Other networks have a very high probability of causing interference with the campus wireless network and will lower the quality of service for everyone. Thus, it is against campus policy for non-OIS access points to be installed and operated on campus. If you have a special need, OIS will work with you to provide the best possible solution.
10. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using the wireless network, computers for employees can securely connect to the PSU internal network using the VPN. This will allow them to use most campus computing resources as if sitting at their desk. More information is available HERE
For questions or comments, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.