Information Technology A to Z Index

Wireless

IT at EKU is committed to providing excellent wireless service in all areas of every residence hall.  This is a service that you expect and we strive to provide 24/7/365.  However, since the wireless network is victim to interference, maintaining a wireless network stable enough for academic work is not always possible, so this is why we recommend using your Ethernet connection.   If you are handling academic work on the network (e.g., Blackboard), it is highly recommended that you use the wired network instead of the wireless network. Wireless connections, like any radio signals, are vulnerable to interference from certain obstacles: 2.4 GHz wireless phones, microwaves, Bluetooth devices, building walls, etc.

The access points installed by IT at EKU communicate with each other through a central server so they actively avoid interfering with one another.

Wired vs. Wireless Speeds

802.11n, the current standard deployed on campus, has a theoretical maximum of 144 Mbps throughput, but this is under the most ideal circumstances.  Due to environmental interferences and the fact that signal strength decreases with distances from the access point, speeds of 60-80 Mbps are more typical. This also requires an 802.11n card in your computer, which many computers do not have.  802.11g, the most common standard, has a theoretical maximum of 54 Mbps, with typical speeds around 10-25 Mbps.  This is still plenty fast for web browsing and instant messaging.

The wired network has a top speed of 100 Mbps.  This speed does not decrease but is dependent on the bandwidth use of others in your building.  This makes it ideal for high bandwidth applications, such as video chat or video games.  It will also rarely, if ever drop your connection especially because of the interference of a microwave oven, so it is more reliable for academic endeavors.

Wireless Printers (and other student-owned wireless routers)

Since wireless printers (and wireless routers) act as access points, they are not allowed on the campus network.  They cause the same interference problem as other wireless access points and certain HP printers actively cause interference on the network by “hopping” channels.  Since the IT-installed access points coordinate with each other so as not to overlap channels, this channel “hopping” cause a great deal of problems on the network for connected users.  You should connect your printer to your PC using a USB cable and disable the WiFi on your printer.

“Low” signal strength issues

Computer network cards can have problems filtering out interference and interpret the extra interference as low signal strength.  Since the Cisco routers coordinate with each other to avoid interfering with themselves, there is very little actual interference from the EKU wireless infrastructure.    As long as internet speeds remain acceptable, the “Low” signal strength should not be a problem.  If you are getting low internet speed, check for the following common causes of interference:

  • Personal wireless routers (prohibited on ResNet)
  • Wireless printers
  • Microwaves
  • Xbox 360 controllers
  • Cordless phones
  • Bluetooth devices
  • Personal wireless cameras

Guest Wireless

The guest network will allow you to connect to web and email.  This network, however, is limited and not a replacement for eku_secure which has additional resources and encryption (important for online banking, any online ordering, etc.).  The guest network is similar to what you would use say, at McDonalds.

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