Wireless network replacement

On Monday and Tuesday of next week (18th/19th July) the long awaited upgrade of the wireless network in the building will take place. There will be disruption to wireless access as old access points are replaced with new, but I hope that there will be connectivity available from most places at most times.

The most immediately visible benefit will be that the Eduroam network will become available throughout the building rather than being confined to a few hotspots. The open access “wgb” network will remain, but this has very limited bandwidth and is primarily intended for casual visitors and low volume access to the public Internet.

There is one big incompatible change. The internal network “w-107-CB2-3QG” will be withdrawn, and replaced by “w-107-CB3-0FD”. The new network uses WPA2 encryption rather than WEP. Its password is 10 characters long and is formed by simple repetition of the 5 character password for the old network. Machines will need reconfiguring to access the replacement network but do not have to be registered again. The new network is already available in a few places (e.g. the Street) so you can set up your machines to use the new network immediately. If you do not know the password please ask a Computer Officer; whilst it is not “super-secret” I prefer not to publish it openly.

If you have legacy machines which cannot support WPA2 then the only networks they will be able to use after the change are “wgb” and “Lapwing”. This is unlikely to be a problem as the WEP protocol has been deprecated for about 7 years.

Less immediately visible but nevertheless important benefits of the new access points is that they support higher bandwidth wireless standards, including the use of the 5GHz band where there is greater capacity than in the 2.4GHz band.

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