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Office of Information Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about AU's Wired and Wireless Network

How do I connect to the eagle-secure wireless network?

Detailed instructions are available on how to connect to the eagle-secure wireless network:

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How many individuals use the eagle-secure wireless network daily?

Depending on the time of the day, the number of wireless users connected to the eagle-secure wireless network ranges from 400 to 4000 simultaneous users. Back to List


Can I roam with my laptop between campus buildings without having to login into eagle-secure again?

The eagle-secure wireless network was completely installed prior to the summer of 2011. New equipment and access points were installed, which allow wireless users to move across the campus without having to re-authenticate to eagle-secure. Back to List


Why do I have to login to SafeConnect several times?

If you are being prompted to login to SafeConnect more than once per session, your computer likely has both the wired and wireless connections enabled simultaneously. As a result, it can go back and forth from one connection to the other, forcing you to login to SafeConnect each time. You should always disable your wireless connection, if you are connected to the wired network. Back to List


Why isn't the wireless network as fast as the wired network?

The eagle-secure wireless network supports 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n standards with the maximum bandwidth shared among the wireless users connected to each access point. The 802.11b standard has a maximum bandwidth of 11 million bits per second (Mbps), the 802.11g standard has a maximum bandwidth of 54 Mbps, and the 802.11n standard has a maximum bandwidth of 150 Mbps. The wired network provides ports with a dedicated bandwidth of 10 to 100 Mbps per connected user. Wireless performance is also distance sensitive, meaning that maximum performance will degrade on computers located farther away from the wireless access points. As more wireless devices utilize the wireless network more heavily, performance degrades even further. Back to List


Is the wireless network as reliable as the wired network?

The wireless network is not as reliable as the wired network because it uses radio frequencies to transmit data. Radio frequencies are subject to interference. The wired network uses direct, fixed, physical connections that do not experience interference and fluctuation of bandwidth. Wired networks also have fewer dropped connections than wireless connections. Back to List


Is the wireless network as secure as the wired network?

The wireless network can be less secure than the wired network because wireless communication signals travel through the air and can be more easily intercepted by someone with malicious intentions. Back to List


Why does my wireless occasionally get disconnected?

There are several factors which may cause occasional wireless connectivity issues. Each is explored in more detail below:

  • Your connectivity is being affected by a nearby rogue access point.
  • You are too far away from a wireless antenna.
  • There is strong radio frequency interference from nearby RF emitting devices.
  • Your computer's wireless adapter is enabled, while it is connected to the wired network.
  • The wireless transmission channel is overlapping.

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What is a wireless access point?

A wireless access point is a small dedicated hardware device with a built-in network adapter, antenna, radio transmitter, and receiver. Access points act as the central transmitter and receiver of wireless network radio signals. Back to List


How many users can be connected to one access point simultaneously?

There is no hard and fast rule to determine how many users can be simultaneously connected to a single access point. The bandwidth allocated per user varies depending on the applications used and the number of other connected users, since it is shared. The available bandwidth per user decreases, as more users coonect to the same access point. Back to List


Should I configure my wireless adapter to use ad-hoc/peer-to-peer or infrastructure mode?

Your wireless card should be configured to use infrastructure mode, not the ad-hoc mode. Back to List


What is a wireless ad-hoc or peer-to-peer mode?

Operating in an ad-hoc or peer-to-peer mode allows all wireless devices within range of each other to discover and communicate directly with each other without going through an access point. This is not compatible with eagle-secure. Back to List


What is wireless infrastructure mode?

Operating in infrastructure mode allows all wireless users within range of an access point to connect to it, share the same channel, and receive packets forwarded by the central access point. An infrastructure wireless network provides a more reliable network connection for the wireless users. Back to List


What is an SSID?

The eagle-secure SSID is eagle-secure. The acronym SSID stands for Service Set Identifier. It is an alphanumeric key that uniquely identifies a wireless network. The SSID differentiates one wireless network from another. All access points and devices attempting to connect a specific wireless network must be configured with the same SSID. Back to List


What are the 802.11, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n standards?

The first wireless network standard created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) was called 802.11. It only supported a maximum network bandwidth of 2 Mbps, which was slow for most applications. For this reason, ordinary 802.11 wireless products are no longer manufactured. In 1999, IEEE expanded on the original 802.11 standard, creating 802.11b specifications. It supports bandwidth of up to 11 Mbps, which is comparable to traditional Ethernet. In 2002 and 2003, wireless network products supporting a newer standard called 802.11g emerged on the market. 802.11g supports bandwidth of up to 54 Mbps. 802.11n is the latest wireless network standard, which has improved the previous 802.11 standards by adding multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas. It operates on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with the supported bandwidth of up to 150 Mbps. Back to List


Are the 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n standards compatible?

802.11n is backwards compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g, runs on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, and works with 802.11b and 802.11g wireless network adapters. Back to List


Why can't I install my own access point (AP)? What is a rogue access point?

You can not install your own access point. Any access point that has not been authorized, configured, and connected to the AU network by OIT is called a rogue access point. Rogue access points do not conform to AU's Information Technology Security Policies. Rogue access points are security risks, cause radio frequency interference, and create an unstable wireless network environment. Back to List


Is there any signal interference or signal degradation because both wireless data and voice are carried through the same antenna?

There is no negative impact on the signal quality for wireless data, because each service works on a different frequency band. Back to List


Should I be concerned about the radiation from the ceiling mounted wireless antennas?

Wireless network access points (APs) conform to radio frequency emission safety limits adopted by the FCC. These APs are mounted on indoor structures providing a separation distance of several feet from all persons during normal operation. Back to List