Wireless Information & FAQ
Welcome to the Office of Information Technology’s wireless network page. This page contains important information for all who use Norfolk State University’s computing resources. OIT is constantly striving to improve wireless access for faculty, staff, and students while maintaining a high level of security to protect our data, our users, and our users’ data. We are doing this by improving wireless coverage outdoors in central locations, improving access in dorms and replacing aging equipment with newer technologies. Here is a wireless coverage map:
Spartan Suites Wireless Project
We are about to embark our most ambitious wireless project to date, a near 100% coverage area of Spartan Suites. Beginning August 31, 2015, the Norfolk State University Research and Innovation Foundation, Office of Information Technology, and Capstone On-Campus Management will start installing enough wireless access points to cover all suites. We expect the project to be completed by September 18, 2015.
What is being installed?
Small wireless access points will be installed in each suite. The APs fit over the existing network jack and require little construction. They are capable of using the existing box and cabling in the wall. Each will be mounted outside of the wall, sticking out roughly 3 inches from the wall. To protect them, rubber bumpers will be mounted on the wall at each corner of the AP.
Who is installing them?
The APs are being installed by a third party contractor, CDIS. CDIS has been working with NSU for some time now. They are very familiar with the campus and have proven reliable and trustworthy. A member of OIT will be accompanying CDIS during the install. They will have badges and company attire to help you identify them.
When is the one in my suite being installed?
A projected schedule will be posted in various areas. Students will be notified in advance of the date the AP for their room is to be installed. This is the first such project CDIS and OIT have embarked on. We are estimating that install will take between 15 and 30 minutes; however, please understand unforeseen issues can occur and cause them to take longer. We will do our best to adhere to the predefined schedule.
Where are they being installed?
Each suite will have an AP installed. The location of the AP is dependent on the layout of the suite. Because the living room jacks are intended for telephone, the AP will be installed in one of the suite’s bedrooms. The AP will be installed in a middle (or central) bedroom that allows for the AP to provide signals to all rooms in the suite.
Several factors where used to determine where the APs are being installed. We decided that the optimal method of installation was to use existing infrastructure. This decreases time and costs related to the completion of the installation; however, still ensures that you will have improved coverage throughout your suite. This also allows for us to make future enhancements easily without requiring any major renovations or new construction.
Is there anything I need to do?
We ask that students prepare their rooms for before 9 AM of the morning of their scheduled install. To prepare, please move everything, including furniture, away from the walls where the data jack is located. Having clear access to the port allows CDIS to get the install done quickly. Once the AP is installed, it will be ready for students to connect to. Having to move personal items and furniture slows the installers down. In the event the installers have a lot to move, the install will be rescheduled for a later time.
Does that mean I lose my rooms data port?
No. The APs being installed have a port built in that can be used for wired connectivity. You would plug your Ethernet cable into the port located on the bottom of the AP.
Wait! So, they are going in a bedroom? That doesn’t seem fair.
Rest assured that one student in a suite will not have better access than another. There is no advantage to residing in the same room the AP is installed in.
The APs chosen are the newest available. They provide better signal strength than most home APs. If anything, we may have to turn down the signal to keep it within the surrounding suite. Once completed, the network engineers will perform an assessment of the coverage and tune as necessary.
OK. What happens if the device is lost, stolen or damaged?
This is a very real concern for OIT, NSU, NSU Foundation and suites management group. We have considered various options, but, as mentioned earlier, time was very important. The rubber bumpers will provide some protection for the APs. We will also be monitoring devices using network monitoring tools. If an AP goes missing or quits working, OIT and Capstone will receive notifications immediately. In most cases, APs in rooms adjacent, above and below will provide enough coverage while the lost, stolen or damaged AP is addressed.
Please protect the APs as you would your personal computer, TV or smartphone.
Yeah, but, I still have some concerns.
If stolen, an AP will not function on any other network. They are only useable on NSU’s network. The APs are specific to enterprise environments and are managed by central controllers. The Spartan Suites management group and NSU’s Residence Life & Housing will be implementing additional controls to prevent theft and damage.
Great! Thanks for the information, but, how do I use the new wireless APs?
Actually, there is no difference in how one connects to these. If you have logged into NSUWIRELESS anywhere on campus, your device should automatically connect to the wireless in the suites. For more details, keep reading the rest of this page.
During one’s stay or visit to NSU, wireless is available in most buildings. Students who have NSU accounts will be able to access NSUWIRELESS using the same username and password used to access MyNSU. This account is created when a student applies and is accepted to the university. Faculty and staff use the same username and password as used to access networked computers and email. Those newly employed have their accounts created as part of the new hire process.
WPA2 Enterprise is the technology used for accessing NSUWIRELESS and requires logging in. By logging into NSUWIRELESS, users can be confident in their communications being secure, safe from prying eyes or software. The first time one connects to NSUWIRELESS, they will be asked to enter their username and password. If the option to cache these is selected, the device will automatically login to NSUWIRELESS provided their account and password are in good standing.
While connected to NSUWIRELESS, users can watch online TV and videos, listen to online music, surf the web, and do just about anything on the Internet. To setup a connection, here are some configuration guides and videos:
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Win 7 Operating System
· iOSDevices iPhones, iPad, iPod Touch
· Vista Operating System
· S MAC Operating System
· Android Phone Setup
In select areas, guest access is provided by using NSUGUEST. NSUGUEST is intended for temporary use by community patrons and visitors while here for a short period of time, such as those attending a meeting. NSUGUEST is not secure and is limited to Internet access only. Trying to use NSUGUEST to watch videos, listen to music or use non-web based apps will seem to stutter or completely fail. This is by design as bandwidth is limited. NSUGUEST is only available in areas where visitors are expected to need wireless access but don’t have accounts to login to NSUWIRELESS. These areas include conference rooms, common areas of dorms, and classrooms.
Personal Access Points (APs) or Routers
To guarantee everyone’s security and remain in compliance with Commonwealth of Virginia standards, connecting personally owned wireless access points or routers is expressly forbidden. Yes, this is considered a violation of policy 32-01 (2015) Acceptable Use of Technological Resources Policy (AUP), but, policies are created to protect users and users’ data. As much as OIT would like to believe everyone operates securely and always protects themselves and their data, the reality is most do not.
When someone connects an AP to the network, OIT has no way to ensure the safety of those that connect to it. It very possible someone is conducting a man-in-the-middle attack. When someone connects to an unsecure or unknown AP, instead of talking directly to the bank, they could be talking to someone in the middle. This middle person records their information, such as passwords, and uses it later to steal money from the unsuspecting citizen.
Think about connecting to Panera’s or Starbuck’s wireless. The same thing applies to their open wireless. We want to protect our customers and their data. Some of us in OIT have seen firsthand how bad it is when someone’s identity is stolen. It often takes weeks, months, and years to recover from it.
WPA2 Personal or PSK
WPA2, often with “Personal” or “PSK” as part of the name, is a technology intended to protect wireless communications. WPA2 is used in homes and small offices. “PSK” stands for “pre-shared key.” This means that a string of text (or passphrase) is configured on each AP and each device connecting to it. It requires owners to manually enter it on each. If someone with bad intentions gets it, they are able to break into your systems and listen to all communications. This effectively nullifies the intent of the technology. Once that key is known by those that should not know it, it has to be changed on each device.
Now, consider NSU’s network. We have close to 6000 students. If each student has two wireless devices, that’s 12,000. With roughly 3000 full and part time faculty, staff and administrators, add one device for each. That equates to 15,000 devices. If we used a single key for all, is it really secure? If one decided to do collect all communication they could, think of the gold mine they would have. What makes this case worse is not being able to know who is collecting the info. Again, OIT wants to ensure a safe computing environment for all.
Game Consoles, Smart TVs, Media Sticks
Game consoles, TVs, printers, and media sticks are not supported on NSUWIRELESS. We know many of our residents own wireless printers, XBOXs, PlayStations, smart TVs, Rokus, and other devices that are capable of using wireless to access the network. However, HP, Canon, Microsoft, Sony, and other manufacturers of these devices have chosen to not include the WPA2 Enterprise standard in their devices. We ask our residents to keep in mind these devices are intended to be used at home where WPA2 Personal is used. They are designed for small environments, not corporate or educational institutions. OIT and NSU are required the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure all users, their data and NSU’s data remains secure. As described above, this is not possible with WPA2 Personal. The only option is to use the wired, or Ethernet, port in the dorm rooms. A wired connection is also the best method for gaming, interactive video, and video streaming as latency, or “lag”, is reduced. Wireless is a shared medium and can experience interference from other wireless transmitting devices.
What Devices Are Supported?
Most tablets (iPad, Nexus, Surface), smartphones (iPhone, Galaxy, Android based phones), MacBooks and laptops are capable of using WPA2 Enterprise on NSUWIRELESS. Check the individual manufacturer for specific details.