How is the BSU wireless network different than the one in my home?

The Ball State University Wi-Fi (wireless) network provides access throughout campus. Although similar to the wireless network you might have had at home, there are some significant differences which will impact your networking experience.

At home you would have set up a wireless router with an SSID (network name), an encryption method (WEP, WPA, or WPA2) and a passcode known only to you, your family and trusted friends. Then to set up your laptop (or other devices), you would entered the same info, or used a button on the router which would broadcast it to your device(s). The passcode is critical; it controls who can connect to your network and it is crucial in the encryption that helps protect your data as it moves across the wireless network. If your passcode gets compromised not only can someone connect to your wireless router, but they can ultimately view any data/information you access over the wireless network.

On an enterprise level network, like the one here at Ball State University, we need to allow everyone access, not just you, your family, and your trusted friends while still protecting your data/information. Instead of using a passcode (that everyone would have to know), we use the 802.1x authentication protocol. It uses your email address (jdoe@bsu.edu) and password to uniquely identify you. The eduroam and bsusecure networks also use an encryption method to help protect your data.

Another aspect to consider is the physical scope of a home network versus the campus-wide network. At home only those people in close proximity could even connect to your router. Depending on your router and the settings, others may have to be physically on your property to get connected. But here on-campus, the wireless network covers the entire campus. So if you have a wireless storage device, or even a wireless printer, someone from the other end of campus could potentially connect to that device. You need to keep this in mind when you decide to connect a device to the campus network.

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 8197-4690
  • Date Created: 8/14/2014
  • Last Modified Since: 8/14/2014
  • Viewed: 80