Do-It-Yourself Wireless

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Installing your own wireless access point

Please don't.

"Routers, other than those used by CIT, or approved for use by CIT, are disallowed from access to the campus network. If you need to connect multiple computers to the internet, you can now use inexpensive hubs or switches, such as the Netgear FS605, the D-Link DSS-5+, the Linksys SD205 or the Hawking Technology HFS8T (which is available from the Oberlin College Computer store) Wireless access points are also disallowed." (Acceptable Use Policy, Oberlin College, 2006)

Routers, including wireless routers, and including the Apple AirPort, can cause major problems on the network. As we expand the "official" OC wireless area, we encounter more problems with unofficial or "rogue" access points bridging across our wired and wireless networks. That's what a router does, by design, but within a large complex network like ours, this behaviour causes problems for everyone in the area. Already this semester (Sept. 2006) we have had problems in some residence halls caused by student-owned wireless routers.

Just within the radio-frequency wireless space, unofficial wireless signals cause interference with our official wireless units, slowing connection speeds and disconnecting other users. Cordless telephones and microwave ovens also operate within the 2.4GHz radio spectrum, and can cause the same effects. For best performance of our wireless network, please do not operate other equipment within the 2.4GHz wireless spectrum.

In the past, we know students sometimes operated wireless access points in residence halls where there was no OC wireless presence. Carefully set up, these units had little effect on the OC network. But as we build out the wireless network farther across campus, our system of access points will attempt to capture all wireless clients seen within range. Unofficial access points compromise this process, and the end result is your network performance will suffer, whether with our wireless or yours.