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:
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:
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.
Wireless in Spartan Suites
In September 2015, the Norfolk State University Research and Innovation Foundation, Office of Information Technology, and Capstone On-Campus Management completed installation of wireless devices to provide near 100% wireless coverage. This undertaking was the first of its kind within the university and was a huge success for all, especially for residents of Spartan Suites.
What was installed?
|Small wireless access points were installed in each suite. The AP fit over the existing network jack and required little to no construction. This allowed wireless access to be available almost immediately after installation.|
Where were they installed?
Each suite had an AP installed. The location of the AP was dependent on the layout of the suite. Because the living room jacks are intended for telephone, the AP was installed in one of the suite’s central bedrooms.
Is there anything I need to do?
Yes! Please protect the APs as you would your personal computer, TV or smartphone.
Please keep furniture and personal items away from the AP. If the AP is disconnected or damaged, it could cause you to loose wireless access in addition to any fees or costs charged to students.
An AP was installed in my room. Did I lose my rooms data port?
No. The APs installed have ports built in that can be used for wired connectivity. Only the middle two are active. Plug your Ethernet cable into one of the two middle ports labeled E1 or E2. They are blue in color to help identify them.
Wait! So, they were installed 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 and are self tuning to provide optimal coverage to all devices connected.
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. We will 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. For more specific questions about lost or stolen APs, contact management within the dorm.
Yeah, but, I still have some concerns.
If stolen, an AP will not function on any other network. They are only usable 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.