Secure Wireless, also known as WPA2, is the fastest, most secure connection for faculty, staff and students to use.
The University of Cincinnati upgraded and expanded its wireless network in 2012 to provide 100% wireless coverage in all UC Uptown, UC Reading and UC East campus buildings. UC’s wireless network now consists of over 4,000 access points for wireless network access to an average of nearly 38,000 wireless clients each day.
From the original implementation of 802.11b technology, which provided wireless speeds of 2mb, to the current standard of 802.11n technology, which provides speeds up to 300mb, UCIT has been consistent in advancing wireless technologies in the network as these technologies have become universally available.
Securewireless uses 802.11i technology, commonly known as WPA2. WPA2 along with 802.1x, relies on the wireless client’s ability to authenticate onto a network with a username and password and then encrypts the data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). UCIT enabled WPA2 wireless security on access points in January, 2008, and has included WPA2 security on all access points installed since then.
After a wireless user performs the initial setup for Securewireless on their wireless device, they then need to user their Central Login Credentials (CLS) to gain access to the wireless network. There are two WPA2 standards available, WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise; WPA2-Personal is designed for home use. UCIT recommends that all new wireless devices support the WPA2-Enterprise standard.
Users wishing to implement WPA2 must have a supplicant on their wireless device that supports 802.1x. Windows XP SP3, Vista, 7 and 8 natively support 802.1x authentication, as well as MAC OS X 10.3 and above. Versions of 802.1x are readily available for download for Linux devices. Users will need to follow the detailed directions posted on the UCIT web page to configure their 802.1x supplicant for access to the wireless network.
The current wireless LAN environment at UC is 802.11N compliant. The 802.11N standard allows for data transmission between the client device and wireless access point at speeds up to 300MB. When signal strength diminishes due to distance or interference between the workstation and access point, lower transmission speeds are supported. The 802.11N standard is backwards compatible with client devices that only support 802.11g or 802.11a and will support these devices at the lower transmission rate. The 802.11N access point connects to the UC network via 1 Gb Ethernet connection.
University of Cincinnati Information Technologies (UCIT) has been given primary responsibility for the design, installation, and operation of the wireless network environment on the UC Campus. This system will allow campus users to access all campus information technology resources from mobile or portable computers. However, in order to achieve a robust and stable wireless infrastructure and prevent unintended interference to FCC licensed services, UCIT must maintain administrative control of the radio frequency spectrum that wireless devices utilize as their base transport mechanism.
802.11b/g/a/n wireless local area networking uses the FCC unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands. Certain other "wireless" devices exist in the market place that also employ the same frequency bands and can cause interference to users of the wireless service. These devices include, but are not limited to other wireless LAN devices, cordless telephones, cameras, microwaves, and audio speakers.
In order to assure the highest level of service to the users of wireless network, UCIT needs help from all members of the campus community in minimizing the potential interference from those devices. UCIT requests that use of all other 2.4 GHz and 5GHz devices be discontinued in university-owned buildings. In cases where the device is being used for a specific teaching or research application, UCIT requests that the college, department, researcher or faculty member work with UCIT to determine the priority and whether there are circumstances under which use of the device may still be accommodated without causing interference to the installed wireless community. Through channel frequency coordination with UCIT, it is possible that most devices operating in the same frequency ranges can be accommodated on campus in fixed locations. Where interference issues cannot be resolved working with UCIT, the college and Provost Offices will determine the priority. UCIT's role is to assist those involved by providing the options available for resolution of the interference issues in such cases.
UCIT will approach the shared use of the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz radio frequencies in the same way that it manages the shared use of the wired network. While it will not actively monitor use of the airspace for potential interfering devices, we will seek out the user of a specific device should we find it causing harmful interference to the campus network or other FCC licensed service. In these cases, UCIT reserves the right to restrict the use of all FCC licensed Part 15 ISM and U-NII devices in university-owned buildings and all outdoor spaces on the UC Main Campus. See the UC General Policy on the Use of Information Technology for information on the campus computing policies, including those related to responsible use of shared resources, such as the campus airspace in this case.
If you think you have an existing system that may use 2.4 GHz or 5GHz radios for transmission or you are planning to purchase a wireless system and you are uncertain if it employs 2.4 or 5 GHz radios, please contact the UCIT Help Desk at 556-3785 or send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Help Desk can assist in determining if such devices will cause interference to the wireless network.
All new external, internal and USB wireless cards must have WPA2 Enterprise certification. It is also recommended that all new wireless cards support a/g/n. Wireless cards designated b/g/n will only connect at g speeds on the UC wireless network due to the physical limitations of the b/g band.
UCIT recommends that you download the latest version of the software for your wireless card, so that you have the latest drivers and bug fixes.
UCIT supports the technology required for wireless installations. However, users should note that this technology is not as mature or fault tolerant as the equipment used with the wired network. Users are advised to take this into consideration when determining which solution is best to meet their business needs.
UCIT is evaluating wireless network management tools to improve the level of support to the wireless infrastructure. The potential benefits of these emerging tools are as follows:
To request UC wireless access for summer program students, please submit a GetIT request and attach a list of the students' names and their associated 6+2 usernames. Once received, the NOC will manually enter usernames for the summer students for wireless WPA2 access.
If a summer program student’s laptop doesn’t support WPA2 connectivity, please contact the UCIT Help Desk at 556-4357 so we can manually enter the laptop's wireless MAC address for access to the NoWireUC network.