Wireless Network Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

More information is available in the form of questions and answers. Click on the questions to expand them and see the answers.

What areas does the wireless network cover?

The wireless network covers all areas of every campus building and many outdoor areas (e.g. patios, quads, and athletic areas). All residences, including student rooms and lounges, have access to the wireless network.

What if I want to bring my own wireless router to campus?

There is no need to bring a wireless router to campus. Plugging a wireless router in to a network port could negatively impact on the wireless experience of others. It also is not in compliance with the College’s Campus Network Policy, which can be viewed here, http://www.hws.edu/itservices/campus_network.aspx.

How fast is the wireless network?

The wireless network connection speed is 450 Mbps.

The lights are dark on the wireless access point, does this mean the access point is broken?

The wireless access points in residence areas are configured to run with the lights off in order to not disturb residents. The access points are functioning normally.

What are the differences between the HWS-Private and HWS-Public wireless networks?

HWS-Private is for individuals with HWS network credentials (faculty, staff, students, trustees, contractors, etc.) HWS-Public is for visitors and guests to our campus.

What are the advantages of using HWS-Private vs. HWS-Public?

HWS-Private is intended to provide users with HWS credentials more bandwidth, enhanced security and encryption, and access to all of the services on the HWS network. Once connected to HWS-Private your device is set and will automatically reconnect to HWS-Private whenever you are on campus.

HWS-Public is primarily for visitors and guests to campus who need access to the Internet. Each time a guest or visitor connects to HWS-Public they will be asked to agree and accept the terms of the Responsible and Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources Policy.

Why isn't my iOS device connecting to HWS-Private, when it has in the past?

If you have been connected to HWS-Private in the past, you may need to remove the HWS-Private Profile. Use these instructions for removing an HWS-Private profile (PDF).

Why is there an idle time limit on HWS-Public?

This network is intended for temporary visitor access.

Why do some TVs and video game units allow connectivity to HWS-Private while others do not?

Different manufacturers use different configurations of hardware and software that may or may not support secure wireless authentication.

Are there any areas on campus where there isn’t coverage, or perhaps where the signals will be weak?

Common outdoor areas (e.g. quads, the Hill) will be covered by wireless. The far edges of campus, leading into the Geneva community will have decreasing access the further you are from HWS, depending on the antenna in your device.

Will I be required to use only wireless to connect to the Internet?

No, Ethernet jack locations remain unchanged and are available throughout campus.

Should I use a personal wireless access point?

No. Our Campus Network Policy prohibits the use of personal wireless access points since it increases wireless interference for those connecting to HWS-provided wireless. If you have a printer with wireless capability, please turn the wireless radio off and use a USB cord, as it is also a wireless access point.

I am having trouble connecting a device, who do I call for help?

Please call the Help Desk at (315) 781-4357 or bring the device to the Help Desk in the Rosensweig Learning Commons, located in the Library.

Do you know of any specific things that might interfere with the wireless network?

Personal wireless access points and personal wireless printers are the main source of interference. Other devices operating on the same band may have some level of interference. These devices can include Xbox 360s, cordless phones, and microwave ovens.

What do I need to do when I change my HWS network password?

Mac and Windows computers and iOS devices (iPhones and iPads), should prompt you for a new password the next time you connect to the wireless network. Android devices may also prompt you for a new password; it will depend on the Android device. If you are unable to connect to wireless after changing your password, follow the instructions for a first-time connection.

Why is my device automatically joining HWS-Public after I've configured and connected to HWS-Private?

If your device is set to remember previously joined wireless networks, it may join to HWS-Public before HWS-Private. Go to the wireless settings on your device and "Forget" HWS-Public.

I'm trying to connect to HWS-Private from a Windows computer and the automatic process wants to download "wizardnetworkloader.exe". Is this correct?

If you are using a web browser that has Java disabled, it will download the configuration tool instead of running within the browser. This is entirely normal.

I use a desktop computer. Do I need to follow the wireless instructions?

You can if you like, but it’s not necessary. Your desktop is connected with an Ethernet cable, which is the best way to connect stationary devices to the network.

I don’t see any WiFi networks listed, what should I do?

Ensure your device’s WiFi radio is powered on. Some computers have both a physical switch and a function key on the keyboard to control the wireless radio. If the radio is powered on, turn it off briefly and turn it back on to restart the search for new networks. If this still doesn’t work, please contact the Help Desk at 315-781-4357.

Advanced Questions and Answers (click to see the list)

What is a wireless access point?

A wireless access point is a device that communicates with a computers and devices via radio waves to provide network connectivity.

What is an SSID?

An SSID is the name of a wireless radio signal (e.g. HWS-Private). It identifies a particular set of network services offered from the access point.

What is "roaming"?

A wireless computer can "roam" from one access point to another, depending on the strength of signal coming from the access point. Your wireless network card will negotiate the best connection, and move from one access point to another transparently.

What standards are supported by our wireless network?

Our access points support 802.11a/b/g/n on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands, for a maximum speed of 450 Mbps. Real-world values will be lower depending on interference, your distance from the access point, and the hardware/software combination in your device.

How secure is our wireless network?

HWS-Private uses WPA2 Enterprise encryption. WPA2 encrypts data with the AES cipher, a very high encryption standard.

What operating systems are supported?

If your operating system, wireless card, and wireless card drivers support 802.11a/b/g/n and WPA2 Enterprise, your device can connect to the network. Most devices should support this.

What about connecting a Linux device?

If your Linux device supports 802.11a/b/g/n and WPA2 Enterprise, it should connect. Select HWS-Private and WPA2 Enterprise in your Linux wireless manager. If prompted for a username or "identity," enter your HWS username. If you are prompted for an "anonymous identity," leave it empty. Consult your device's documentation for specifics.

Are there any specific devices you are aware of that will not work?

We are not currently aware of any devices that are unable to connect to the HWS wireless network. If you have issues connecting your device, please call the Help Desk at (315) 781-4357 or stop by with the device to the Help Desk in the Rosensweig Learning Commons, located in the Library.

Will a personal wireless access point interfere with the HWS wireless network?

Yes, a personal access point will interfere with the HWS-provided wireless signals. Personal access points are prohibited by our Campus Network Policy. If you have a printer with a wireless capability, please turn the wireless radio off and use a USB cord, as it is also a wireless access point and could interfere with our neighbors connecting to HWS wireless. This will also prevent other individuals from mistakenly printing to your printer. Additionally, there are printers in the Library Learning Commons and Multimedia Lab for student use.

Does Bluetooth interfere with the wireless network?

Bluetooth runs on the same 2.4 GHz band, but often transmits at a much lower power and shorter range, so it should not interfere with the network.

Is there anything I can’t do on the wireless network that I can do on the wired network?

HWS-Private offers the same set of services as plugging into the network in academic buildings. For high-bandwidth or delay-sensitive activities (such as transferring large files or video streaming), you should plug in if possible. HWS-Public only provides a connection to the public Internet.

How fast is a wireless connection?

Wireless provides a network connection slower than a wired Ethernet network but fast enough for most internet activities. The performance of the network will depend on many variables, including signal strength and the power of your device’s transmitter, along with the number of users in the area.

How does the number of users impact the wireless network?

The network speeds will be slower as more users connect through the same wireless access point. The speed you will achieve in an area is a function of the number of number and location of access points relative to your location, along with the construction and shape of the building or outdoor area you are occupying.

Can I access the Xerox printers and multi-function devices on the wireless network?

Yes, HWS-Private offers the same set of services as plugging into the network in academic buildings, such as printing or access to network share drives.

What should I do if my wireless connection seems slow?

Try other websites or internet services; it may just be a particular website. Ensure your operating system and wireless card drivers are up-to-date.

What do I do if I'm getting poor signal strength?

If you're in a building where wireless is supported but you're not getting a good connection because of poor signal strength, you should contact the Help Desk at (315) 781-4357.

How can I troubleshoot a weak or absent wireless signal?

  • Are there any interference sources (e.g. personal wireless access points, cordless phones, microwave ovens) in your room or nearby?
  • Does the wireless signal strength vary within your room (i.e. does one area of your room have a strong signal and one area have a weak signal?) or vary by time of day (e.g. wireless is slower in your room in the evening when there are more people using wireless)?
  • Does your computer receive a stronger wireless signal in other rooms/buildings?

If not, it may be prudent to investigate the operation of your computer's wireless card.

If you have checked each of these troubleshooting points and the signal strength continues to be weak, please contact the Help Desk at (315) 781-4357.

Are there any health implications of Wi-Fi signals?

International health agencies have concluded that there is no health implication to Wi-Fi: http://www.wi-fi.org/knowledge-center/articles/wi-fi-and-health. Wi-Fi signals, along with television/radio signals and visible light, are "non-ionizing radiation" and have no health effects.
 

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Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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