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Wireless Network Available to All

by Rob Galbraith

Western's Wireless Network is available for use by current students, faculty and staff. Although the first phases of the wireless network were targeted at the wireless laptop program funded by Student Technology Fees, the wireless network itself was built to be accessible to everyone on campus.

This year, thanks to additional funding from the Student Technology Fee program, access to the wireless network was improved by doubling the number of wireless access points on campus. The additional access points are located in areas where students and faculty can make maximum use when away from the campus wired network in offices and labs, such as in building lobbies, in outside gathering places, student lounges and other public spaces.

The coverage area for the wireless network on north campus now includes parts of the Viking Union, Old Main, Red Square and surrounding buildings. On south campus, the network has expanded to include parts of the academic buildings around Haskell Plaza, including extensive study areas in the SMATE building.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use their own laptop computers or other wireless devices to access Western's wireless network. All that is needed is a compatible wireless network card (IEEE 802.11b) and a WWU universal username and password.

Opening a web browser such as Internet Explorer in a wireless coverage area on campus will automatically bring up the Western Wireless Access screen. When a person is logged in using their standard network login ID, both the internet and Western's campus network can be used.

Students are able to borrow laptops with wireless capability at the Wilson Library Media Desk, the Viking Union Info Desk, and Science Lecture 250 (SMATE). Faculty members may try out wireless technology by checking out a laptop with a wireless card for a short period of time at the ATUS Classroom Services desk in Miller Hall 155. Wireless network cards can be checked out for the quarter by faculty, staff, and students at Classroom Services.

To improve access, security and management of the wireless network, a sophisticated wireless management device was recently added to the campus network. This Bluesocket gateway device brings many improvements and features to the wireless network.

First, the device provides a customizable login page that displays the WWU logo and login help information. The system uses secure login procedures based on our universal Novell login credentials, as well as consistent prompting for user authentication that provides increased control over who has access to the wireless network.

Increased monitoring capabilities make it easy to tell who is connected, how many users are on the system, and how much bandwidth is being consumed by each. Any intruders who access our network without authorization can be easily detected, blocked, or removed from the network.

The Bluesocket device also allows for management of the network in ways that mirror campus instructional priorities and needs. For example, wireless resources can be assigned to specific students, groups of faculty, or specific majors, so that access, available bandwidth and available applications (the web, Telnet, etc.) can be tailored to role-based characteristics assigned by faculty.


AA Art Annex
AH Arntzen
BI Biology Building
BH Bond Hall
BS Book Store
CB Chemistry Building
CH College Hall
CM Communications Building
CN Canada House
CV Carver Gym
ES Environmental Sciences
ET Engineering Technology
FI Fine Art
HH Haggard Hall
HS High Street Hall
HU Humanities Building
LH Lecture Halls
MH Miller Hall
OM Old Main
PA Performing Arts Center
PH Parks Hall
SL Science Lecture Hall
SP Steam Plant
VC Viking Commons
VU Viking Union
WL Wilson Library

Network resources can also be controlled by time of day, location, or any combination of the above. For example, a faculty member could say that network resources in a given area would be available for class use from 1-2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There are also extensive reporting capabilities in the new system that allow us to get a better picture of how the wireless network is being used on campus. Finally, the reliability of the wireless network is enhanced through failover capability provided by a second Bluesocket Gateway configured to take over should the primary fail.

For coverage maps, further information and assistance, use the web link http://www.wwu.edu/wireless or contact the ATUS Help Desk at 650-3333, email helpdesk@wwu.edu.

We hope you'll give the wireless network a try!


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