Wireless Network FAQs
Is Web performance the same on the wireless network as it is on the wired network?
No, the connection speed on a wireless network can vary due to a number of factors, including distance from an access point (the device that transmits the Internet signals to your computer through the air); number of users connecting to an access point and what they’re doing online; walls, metal objects, or electronic devices causing signal interference; and more. Alternatively, connecting to the wired network gives you a dedicated connection that is not shared with others. The wireless network is intended as a supplement to the wired network to allow you to be mobile and to connect when you’re away from your dorm room or office. It can support online activities like e-mail and general Web surfing, but is not intended to support bandwidth intensive activities such as audio/video streaming or large file transfers. When you’re in your room or office, plugging into your data jack will give you a more reliable connection than logging onto the wireless network. This handout gives the basic overview of recommendations on wired vs. wireless.
What is the difference between umd and umd-secure?
OIT broadcasts two SSIDs to provide wireless access to the university community. The “umd-secure” network encrypts all traffic sent and received from a wireless device using WPA2/WPA technology. As it offers the best data security available, this is the preferred wireless network for all university faculty, staff, and students. Since the umd-secure network supports 802.1x, Web browser-based authentication is not required. For users of many PDAs, this option can eliminate the problems associated with running a Web browser solely to reach the Web authentication page required to use the "umd" network.
The “umd” network is intended to provide wireless access to university guests as well as faculty, staff, and students who have not (or cannot) set up WPA2/WPA on their wireless device. Authentication for this network is handled by a Web browser redirect to a login page.
See the Get Connected page for help configuring your device to access either of these networks.
Can someone snoop on my communications over the wireless network?
The Division of IT highly recommends that the university community take advantage of the “umd-secure” wireless network, which encrypts all traffic using WPA2/WPA technology. Look here for help configuring your laptop to use WPA2/WPA and secure your wireless traffic.
Data sent over the “umd” wireless network is NOT encrypted. As such, network traffic is visible to any other person with a computer, wireless network interface, and Ethernet snooping software, which is readily available. For this reason, when using the “umd” wireless network it is strongly recommended that you consider the following:
- Before reading or submitting confidential data from a Web site, be sure the Web site is using https (look for the closed padlock in your browser window) and not simply http.
- Use SSH, not Telnet, when logging into UNIX shell accounts.
Will my iPhone work on the wireless network?
Yes, iPhones will work on the wireless network. To access the internet via your iPhone you should select the "umd" wireless network and then launch the Web browser. Your connection will be redirected to a login page where you'll need to enter your Directory ID and password.
Configuration information for connecting to the "umd-secure" network is available on the Get Connected page.
Does my dorm room have wireless coverage?
Yes! All university residence halls and Fraternity Row houses, as well as the South Campus Commons and University Courtyards communities have full wireless coverage.
If there is full wireless coverage in the residence halls, do I still need to use my wired network connection?
The university’s wireless network is intended to allow customers to perform basic online activities, such as email and general Web surfing, when they’re away from their main network connection. If you’re in your residence hall room, you will have a more reliable network connection if you plug into your wired data jack. Visit this Knowledge Base article for information on connecting to the wired network from your room.
How do I set up a wireless router/access point?
As stated in the “Student Guidelines for Network Computer Use” that each student agrees to during the Residence Hall network registration process,
You MAY NOT install a wireless access point. Only access points installed
by the Division of Information Technology are permitted in residential buildings.
Likewise, in order to assure the highest quality of service for all users of the wireless network the Division of IT asks that members of the campus community refrain from installing access points as this may lead to RF interference or user confusion.
Why am I sometimes disconnected from the wireless network without warning?
The nature of wireless connections makes them prone to disruption from other devices, such as wireless telephones, microphones, and video systems; microwave ovens; certain types of motors; and other devices that send signals through the air. Unfortunately, sporadic loss of connectivity must be expected while using the wireless network. Any activities that require a guaranteed connection should be conducted on the wired network for best results.
Can I give my parents or my visiting friend guest access to the wireless network while they're on campus?
As stated in the “Student Guidelines for Network Computer Use” that each student agrees to during the residence hall network registration process,
You MAY NOT provide network access to anyone who is not a member of the university community. You are
responsible for everything that your computer does
whether or not you are aware of the activity.
To accommodate University of Maryland faculty and staff who wish to sponsor campus visitors for temporary guest access to the wireless network, the Division of IT has developed the Guest Wireless Access Tool. At this time, students may not sponsor guest wireless access.
How do I get wireless network service installed in my building?
For information on having the wireless network expanded into your building please contact email@example.com. A Division of IT staff member will contact you to arrange for a site survey and estimate.
Can I use a wireless device that doesn’t support a Web browser or 802.1x authentication on the wireless network?
To request an exception to the authentication requirement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide details such as the type of device you plan to use, what access it will need (for example, only in my building, campus only, off campus, etc.), how long you expect this need to last and any other pertinent details about your unique situation. Any exception granted will require approval from the Division of IT and will be reviewed on an annual basis.
How do I report a wireless connectivity issue to technicians?
If you are having a connection problem related to the wireless network,
you can report it to the Help Desk via phone at 301.405.1500 or by providing
details through the online form at www.helpdesk.umd.edu/wireless.