Using the Campus Wireless Network

 
 

We are proud to provide a saturation of wireless network signal to residence halls and academic buildings here on campus. We are currently in the process of upgrading our wireless system by adding additional access points and upgrading older models. They are mounted on walls and ceilings in all buildings and selected outdoor locations.

Our Access Points broadcast three different SSIDs, or Service Set Identifiers. Red Dragon WiFi, is an unsecured, unencrypted connection, "Red Dragon Secure" is encrypted. We recommend that you use the encrypted Secure SSID unless your particular device (usually older gaming consoles) cannot use an encrypted connection. The Secure connection makes it practically impossible for anyone to capture your traffic between your machine and the AP, which is good if you are doing online banking or any other sensitive internet usage. The third SSID is eduroam and is intended for campus visitors from other eduroam member institutions.

Using wireless can have its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Everyone likes the freedom to move around and not be tethered by a cable. It can be tricky, sometimes, for us to get good signal to every nook and cranny of our residence halls. Wireless signals can be degraded or blocked by metal and water, so if you consider what may lie between your laptop and the access point out in the hall, you may find that there is a bathroom full of metal pipes and whatnot blocking the signal. Or maybe you located a big old TV or a microfridge in between, or else your roommate taped four or five deflated mylar ballons to the wall in just the right place.

The other issue we see from time to time is interference. There are some devices out there that produce radio-frequency interference that will cause your connection to slow or even drop out. An older microwave oven can do it, as can cordless phones and ad-hoc networks. These are a lot harder to pin down because they tend to be intermittent, coming and going in an unpredictable way. But in the case of a continuing issue of poor service quality in your room, we will do what we can to diagnose the cause(s) and come up with an acceptable solution.

Many students like to use the wireless network outside. Although we currently don't have very many exterior access points installed to provide service outside, a lot of areas have usable signal that leaks out of residence halls and classroom buildings.

When wireless users move around campus, their network devices will usually hand off from one access point to another with no perceptible break in connection. Occasionally a user may encounter a dead spot with little or no signal strength, but these are generally few and far between. Networking has done a great deal of work to survey all buildings and the outdoor spaces to identify these dead spots, and will strive to fill in these areas in priority order with new access points.

If a user has a problem with the wireless network, a call should go to the Help Desk as noted in the page on suspecting a network problem. Networking cannot guarantee an instantaneous response or a perfect solution, but will do whatever is reasonably possible to improve service.

Wireless signal

The College's Red Dragon WiFi computer network operates in the 2.4 and 5 GHz radio frequency spectra.  Any wireless device that also operates at 2.4 GHz will interfere with our wireless computer network and degrade signal strength, resulting in poor Red Dragon WiFi signal quality.

  • 2.4 GHz phones are not allowed in the residence halls.

  • Personal wireless routers are not allowed in the residence halls.

Please note that any device operating at 2.4 GHz will interfere and degrade the signal quality of our Red Dragon WiFi computer network.  This includes personal wireless routers.  Therefore, no device operating at 2.4 GHz is allowed in the residence halls.  This include, but is not limited to, 2.4 GHz cordless phones and personal wireless routers.