Review of the Literature
Prepared for the
University of St Thomas
Researched and written by the members of the subcommittee on mobile
Carole A. Bagley
Peter S. Rhodes
Table of Contents
I. Overview of mobile/wireless computing, why it is important for the
University of St Thomas, review of and suggestions from other universities
as they implemented wireless campuses, and issues and concerns
II. What are the wireless standards?
III. Design of wireless campus access points
IV. AirSpace requirements, policies, implementation, education, support and
other initiatives to be considered to support a wireless implementation at
In addition to reviewing UST designated “peer” institutions, four other premiere, early
adopter universities (Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Dartmouth
University and Buena Vista University), the ACTC schools and several Minnesota
schools will also be included. The UST “peer” institutions include:
• Duquesne University
• Fordham University
• Loyola University Chicago
• Marquette University
• Seton Hall University
• St. Louis University
• University of Dayton
• University of San Diego
I. Overview of mobile/wireless computing
A. What is mobile/wireless computing?
The concept of mobile computing means that individuals would have the
capability to access computing resources regardless of where they are physically
located. Individuals would be mobile and would not have to plug their computer
into a network. Students, staff and faculty could move around campus freely and
would not be confined to connecting the computer to a wall. Mobile devices might
include: laptops, PDA’s, web-enabled cell phones and internet telephony for long
distance and teleconferencing. This review will focus on the use of laptops and
the technology necessary for their mobile use.
There are two views or models of Mobile computing. The first is “local” where
computers are located within 50-300 feet of a network access point. There would
be a network of interconnected access points so that a computer may access the
network without wires in any room and building on campus or outside. A second
model of wireless or mobile computing is “wide area roaming”. This is similar to
what currently exists with cellular phones. The first model will be addressed. The
second model or wide area roaming would require costs and carrier standardization
that are beyond the scope of the current mobile computing project.
A wireless campus requires each mobile computer to have a mobile
communications card that will enable the computer to send and receive signals
to/from access points located across the UST campus. The locations of
numerous Access points (a transmitter, receiver, antenna and bridge to the
campus network) will need to be designed so that they are close enough to
ensure coverage as computers will connect to the closest access point and
access points can reach computers located up to 300 feet away. Each access
point will allow approximately 30 users at a time to connect to the network. As
more computers connect to the same point, the bandwidth and speed will
decrease. A set of rules (protocol) will need to be selected for interpreting the
wireless radio frequency communication signal from the mobile computers. The
Access points will interpret the protocol and will have the capability to
communicate with both the mobile/wireless computers and the wired computers
on campus. The Access points will further transmit the signal (through cable or
fiber optics) from the mobile user to the main campus computers for processing.
This includes access to campus files, printers, the internet and other campus
resources. The operating system implemented across campus must be able to
support the wireless technology.
Although cost, security, speed and the potential for abuse are concerns (and will
be reviewed in this paper), wireless campuses are the wave of the future. Gone
will be the days of classrooms with wires and power cables and desktop
computer systems. Instead, “WIRELESS” connections will cover campuses and
will eventually extend to parks and public buildings.
B. Why should a Wireless campus be built at UST?
There are many reasons why a wireless campus is desirable at UST. These
• Mobility and Convenience: students, staff and faculty can move freely
across campus and have access to their files, the internet, library and printers.
Lounges, dorms, the library, classrooms, and even outside airspace will
provide access to computing resources. Faculty and staff who move regularly
between office, classrooms, conference rooms, etc. will have the convenience
of access to files and information that are needed across campus whether it
be in a meeting, a classroom or other professional/ personal use.
• Ease and convenience of access for students are important reasons alone,
however, wireless will likely increase collaboration between students as well.
Students will work more collaboratively in sharing drafts, charts, and tables,
and in working on projects together. Since wireless networks allow for
ubiquitous Internet computing, students can upload and download information
from library databases, log chat discussions, send and receive e-mail, and do
other things from any location that, typically, they could do only from home
computers or a crowded computer lab. Research has shown that convenient
mobile access to the Internet can increase student productivity, and the use of
laptops and conferencing software can facilitate meaningful negotiations and
the provision of editorial input during the writing and revising process
• Competition: students and parents pay tuition at UST and expect high
quality services. The number of laptop/notebook computers being sold in
2003 is expected to match or exceed the number of desktop computers sold.
Laptop users want and expect more flexibility and mobility. Other universities
who compete for students with UST have built or are currently building
wireless campuses. UST must compete. The following peer universities,
ACTC schools and Minnesota schools who compete with the University of St
Thomas for students have wireless capabilities on their campuses:
4 of 8 Peer Universities have full or near full wireless campuses
1. Loyola University – VPN across full campus, indoors and outdoors
2. Seton Hall – full campus and laptop purchase and support program
3. University of Dayton – full campus, notebook program is contracted out
4. Fordham University – near full campus coverage
An additional 3 of 8 Peer Universities have some wireless coverage
and are expanding
1. St. Louis University – School of Law, Student Union and increasing
2. Marquette University – limited wireless network but increasing
coverage, wireless laptops available in the library
3. Duquesne University – available in the library and student union
ACTC and Minnesota Universities with wireless coverage
1. University of Minnesota – Mpls and St Paul campuses – full campus
2. Mankato State University – library, all outdoor areas, many classrooms,
notebook program with the College of Business. Expect full campus by
3. Colleges of St Benedict and St John’s – full campus
4. Macalester - library and some classrooms, with a pilot laptop program and
moving toward full wireless campus
5. College of St Catherine’s – wireless library with 32 laptops for use in library
6. Augsburg – one lounge area for students - Christensen coffee area
7. Bethel College – library
8. Hamline University – library and graduate building downtown Mpls
• Classroom flexibility: any classroom can become a computer lab. With the
increase in use of computers in instruction, UST does not have enough
computers in classrooms. Laptops and wireless allow the flexibility for
classrooms to easily use computers when they are necessary and put them
away when they are not needed. By not having fixed computer wiring in a
classroom, rooms can be adapted for different uses now and in the future.
• Costs and time to implement: although the initial costs of hardware,
software and support for wireless will not be inexpensive, long term costs will
decrease with wireless. Since wiring in older buildings can be costly, and
wireless will eliminate these costs, over the long term, installation costs and
time will decrease. Wires will still be needed to connect the Access points.
Cost containment initially can be maintained by starting small and growing the
number of access points over a 5 year period. By not having fixed computer
wiring in a classroom, rooms can be adapted for different uses in the future,
thus saving costs. One estimate lists a single access point at less than
$1000. Running cable from an access point to the network could cost $1000.
The cost of upgrading wiring in an older building could run $75000 as
compared to wireless coverage of $9000. In particular, residence halls would
produce a high savings with wireless technologies.
C. Successful Implementations
Early adopters of campus-wide wireless computing include: Dartmouth College,
Buena Vista University, Drexel University and Carnegie Mellon University prior to
2001. Carnegie Mellon and Buena Vista University were the first universities to
adopt campus-wide wireless. The initial design, upgrade and future plans for
Carnegie Mellon University can be viewed at:
Information about the wireless process at Buena Vista University can be viewed at:
ebvyou.bvu.edu/about.htm and tltc.bvu.edu/ebvyou/CIT2000/eBvyou_overview.ppt.
The University of St Thomas has adopted 8 universities as UST “peer
institutions”. Of these universities, Loyola and Seton Hall provide campus-wide
wireless access. The University of Dayton and Fordham University have near-
campus wide wireless access, and Marquette, Duquesne University and St. Louis
University have a variety of locations that are wireless across campus, but not the
entire campus. Numerous Minnesota university campuses also provide wireless
access. Six of the eight “peer” institutions and three Minnesota university
wireless campuses are further described below:
Seton Hall began a university-wide strategic planning process in the 1994-95 academic year,
and as part of that process the institution developed a long-range plan for information
technology. A steering committee was formed to assess the institution’s technology needs
and develop solutions. The committee included campus-wide representation, and it was co-
chaired by Dennis Garbini, who at the time was associate vice president for finance and
administration, and then-faculty member Stephen Landry. Members of the committee were
given substantial release time for a semester as they were expected to focus much of their
efforts toward the IT plan.
After receiving input from the larger community and examining issues through numerous focus
groups, the committee formulated an ambitious five-year technology plan, backed by a long-
range technology budget.
Funding for technology initiatives came through a number of sources: increases in tuition and
fees, capital investments, cost reductions through reengineering, and corporate partnerships.
Landry notes that the development of a long-range IT budget was instrumental in enabling the
university to lease technology equipment and move IT expenditures from a capital to an
Seton Hall’s Mobile Computing Program (technology.shu.edu/) is one of the university’s most
visible technology initiatives. Through a strategic partnership with IBM, first-year students are
issued current Thinkpad laptops when they arrive on campus. The program includes
integrating technology into the institution’s curriculum and providing an infrastructure to support
the use of technology in teaching and learning.
Started as a pilot project in 1995 with 20 students and 12 faculty, the Mobile Computing
Program was the result of a decision to make computers available to students on a one-to-one
ratio. Landry explains that because only 50 percent of Seton Hall’s undergraduate students are
residential, a portable computer was chosen to allow better access; notebook computers also
open more windows for using technology in the classroom.
The Mobile Computing Program became mandatory for freshmen in 1998 after larger pilot
projects proved successful. Participating students pay $650 per semester in technology fees to
help offset the cost of the laptops, which are refreshed on a two-year cycle. By 2001 all full-
time undergraduate students had received notebook computers. Faculty receive laptops as
part of the program, as well as technical, pedagogical, and financial support to incorporate the
technology into their teaching.
The Catholic university, which recently was ranked No. 13 in Yahoo Internet Life magazine's
list of the top 200 most wired colleges, has what was one of the first and most pervasive
laptop-mobile-computing programs in the country. When freshmen and new students enter the
liberal arts university today, they are issued laptops with a built-in wireless LAN card and an
All Seton Hall classrooms provide Internet access for faculty, and one-third of the classrooms
provide data and power connections to each seat as well as built-in computer projection
equipment. The supporting network includes an ATM backbone and switched 10Mb Ethernet in
most academic buildings as well as a state-of-the-art network server architecture.
Residence halls are wired to provide data connection for each student. The wireless network is
also accessible from many public spaces, including library carrels, lounges, the Pirates’ Cove
coffee bar, and even outdoor park benches. But some venues are still tough to reach. The
university will continue to try to permeate those areas.
Despite the overwhelming success of Seton Hall’s mobile computing efforts, the program has
had its challenges. Asset management and distribution have been more difficult than
anticipated, and keeping the program affordable is a constant concern. For part-time students
who don’t participate in the program, course selection is limited to classes not using mobile
Due to the unique nature of each graduate program, adoption of mobile computing at the
graduate level has been slower than at the undergraduate level. Several graduate programs in
the School of Graduate Medical Education have adopted their own versions of the mobile
computing program, and others are exploring this option.
The university's wireless LAN runs on Symbol Technologies' 802.11b-based AP (access
point) wireless bridges in most of the academic buildings, in the lounges of its residence halls
and in other buildings. Each dorm room is hardwired to the network backbone but doesn't
have a wireless link. Dorm lounges, however, do have wireless links.
The wireless LAN poses some labor challenges for Seton Hall. Replacing an access point
requires more physical labor. And then there's the delicate balance with security. As a
university, Seton Hall needs to make its network available to its resident, as well as part-time,
faculty members and students who plug in with their own laptops that didn't come from Seton
Hall's IBM ThinkPad laptop program. At the same time, the university also needs to protect its
network and users.
The security is working, but it's not the kind of security you see in corporations or government.
Seton Hall, meanwhile, has been building out its physical network capacity, starting with an
aggressive fiber installation. The university completed an upgrade from its ATM backbone to
Gigabit Ethernet and is now beginning to add VoIP (voice over IP). Like many organizations
with ATM, the university had maxed out the pipe and was looking to add bandwidth for less
money and with reduced management overhead. During the summer of 2003, Seton Hall will
introduce video on demand to its network, which, among other benefits, will let instructors use
a laptop and overhead projectors to bring video clips to their lectures.
In the long term, this network will be used for true multimedia.
IT Department Info
• Size of IT staff: 7
• Network support person average work week: 50 hours
• Biggest challenge: Keeping up with growth and knowledge.
• Latest projects: Voice over IP, Gigabit Ethernet rollout, video on demand.
• Coolest part of the job: "Seeing technology rollouts rapidly put to use by a large
group of users."
Loyola's Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The Loyola VPN provides a remote link to Loyola University's network resources, including
secure production systems. The VPN allows authorized staff and faculty to access these
systems from any remote location with an Internet-connected computer. To protect against
unwanted entry by computer hackers, the VPN employs a dual authentication system
consisting of a PIN number and a Secure ID Token or "fob".
What applications or secure systems are available with the VPN?
• Mainframe Access to CICS/P using Hummingbird/TN3270 to access SIS, Budget
• Access to U: and N: drives on the Shared Servers using the Microsoft Client for
Netware Networks that is included with your Operating System.
What is a fob? A fob is a physical device that looks like a keychain. IS provides each VPN
user with a fob, which displays a sync number that changes once every sixty seconds. This
sync number, in combination with the VPN user's PIN number, allows the user to login to the
VPN (see VPN Logging On for more information). The dual authentication system (using both
the PIN and sync numbers) greatly reduces the chance of someone guessing a VPN
passcode and accessing secure Loyola information.
St Louis University - March 7, 2003
Information technology services (ITS) is currently working with the School of Law and the
Busch Memorial Center remodeling project to provide wireless computing at both locations.
These projects will serve as a model for future expansion of wireless networking at SLU.
Over time, Access points will gradually be positioned around campus to ensure coverage
everywhere, including outside.
St Louis University plans to provide wireless service by fall semester, 2003, particularly in the
Bush Memorial Center. Careful attention is being given to security and HIPAA standards so
that electronic information is protected from outside sources.
Two key benefits of a wireless network are mobility and flexibility. The major drawback to
wireless is that in most cases, the performance of a laptop PC is poorer and slower.
As progress is made on these projects, more information will be released in Newslink and the
IT Insider, the St Louis University newsletter and web site.
St. Louis University has found wireless to be less expensive. When wiring any facility,
including campuses, you have the cost of installation and materials to contend with, as well as
the possibility of tearing up roads and walls to lay all the cable. Secondly, a wireless system
allows freedom to the organization to set up workspaces, classrooms and labs anywhere and
redesign those spaces without worrying about where the computer outlets are. Finally, the
users have the mobility to work where they want within a few hundred feet of the access point.
So students can take their laptops and work outside, in their dorms, at the student union or in
the classrooms. It's much cheaper to put two to three access points on each dorm floor than
cable each individual room.
University of Dayton
The University of Dayton is now beginning their fifth year of the UD Student Computer
Initiative (which requires students to purchase either a desktop or notebook computer).
Beginning Fall 2002, the School of Business Administration required all entering SBA first year
students to purchase notebook computers.
The University offers a wireless data network in selected areas around the campus and is
greatly expanding wireless access as part of the Student Notebook Initiative.
The student Notebook Initiative is contracted out for purchase and support.
The campus network as currently configured does not permit anytime/anywhere network
computing. This limitation has been a source of frustration for many students and faculty
across campus. As ACTS implements dynamic addressing, mobile connections are available
in more buildings across campus. The Library, Miriam Hall and Kennedy Union were among
the first, most important locations.
THE DESIRED FUTURE for the University of Dayton
A primary goal of the Learning Village is to create an on-demand and around-the-clock
learning environment that is rich in resources and accessible in the places that we gather, live
and work. This goal seeks to integrate information and communications technologies within
and beyond the classroom in an effort not only to extend and enhance learning, but also to
facilitate career readiness for our students and to extend and strengthen collaboration across
campus and beyond.
As a predominantly residential campus for undergraduate students, efforts to implement and
sustain technological innovations are focusing more closely on the development of the
infrastructure and applications that support on-campus living and learning experiences. Within
this context, the University of Dayton seeks to establish a national reputation as a leader
among residential campuses in creating and sustaining technology-enhanced learning
As widespread implementation of the Learning Village occurs, development and support of
technology-enabled learning environments will become a major priority for many faculty and
units across campus. Classrooms, meeting rooms, library spaces and public gathering areas
will support connectivity to information and communication resources in both wired and
wireless forms. Classrooms will provide both students and faculty with the capability to
access, manipulate and display information from networked resources. Network applications
will encourage electronic collaboration over an “anytime/anywhere” learning network.
The central micro labs will not fade away as more students own personal computers as part of
the student computer initiative. Rather, these facilities will evolve from the 1980’s concept of
open-access labs to the concept of technology-intensive teaching and learning environments
that directly support an increasing number of academic programs with technology-driven
curricula. By the year 2005, public computing facilities will become closely tied to information
resources available only in their original non-electronic forms. As a result, the academic library
will become the sole location with a need for open-access computing hardware. The
interwoven nature of computing technology, information research specialists and information
resources, in both electronic and physical forms, will have redefined the notion of what
constitutes a library.
While face-to-face learning will remain a central and valued approach at UD, teaching
efficiency and productivity will be enhanced by the use of network resources such as Lotus
LearningSpace, where course support materials (syllabi, reading lists, lecture notes and
handouts) are readily available. In addition, innovative resources such as multimedia materials,
discussion forums and student-directed collaborative work environments (known as “electronic
team rooms”) are readily accessible and carefully integrated into the design of classes.
By the year 2005, faculty, students and staff will establish, build and sustain a series of on-
going cross-discipline and community-wide conversations that address the critical issues that
impact the quality of life throughout the campus and larger community. These conversations
will be enhanced and extended through the use of electronic threaded discussions that
encourage participation of all members of the community--local and remote.
By the year 2005, faculty, staff and students will routinely design, deliver and participate in a
variety of innovative approaches to the learning process that emphasize active learning,
collaboration, and the integration of academic, service, and residential life experiences within
a community of learners.
When beginning the mobile computing plan, a survey of faculty, staff and students
uncovered the following information:
UD has the basic infrastructure in place to support mobile computing
Facilities in Miriam, the Library, LTC, KU and the student neighborhoods are accessible
for mobile computing.
The emphasis on “in classroom” use of computers may not be required for widespread
implementation across campus. Selective classroom uses (in specific rooms) may
allow for appropriate implementation of notebooks.
Facilities for “beyond the classroom” uses of notebooks in support of connected learning
and scholarship are currently available (wireless, data ports, formal and informal
We are approaching the point where we will need to systematically replace furniture in
many classrooms. This may offer us an opportunity to leverage this investment with
new furniture that is “mobile computing friendly.”
Classroom readiness with appropriate tables, wireless connections and AC power outlets
will require funding.
The cost of adding a wireless data card to each notebook computer will increase the cost
by about $125.
The cost to prepare a typical classroom for 40 wireless data connections will be $4,000
plus annual maintenance costs of about $1800 per year.
For rooms not already equipped, the cost of adding data projection is about $10,000.
The capital investment to replace desks with appropriate chairs and tables in a room with
40 students will typically run about $15,000 – $24,000
The cost to add appropriate AC power outlets around the perimeter of each room will be
range from $3000 to $5,000.
The high end cost of preparing a classroom for full notebook readiness will be about $43,000.
The low end cost of preparing a classroom for full notebook readiness (with new furniture)
will be about $22,000.
For rooms that require only AC and data, the cost will be between $7,000 and $9,000 dollars.
Security and Storage
Notebooks are small and highly portable, thereby decreasing the space problems that
students are currently experiencing in the residence halls.
Notebooks can be secured with theft-deterrent cable locks (which will be provided with
Secure storage, using small lockers, could be provided in public areas of campus.
Unsecured notebooks are susceptible to theft
Secure storage lockers will require additional funding and installation in spaces not
currently designed for storage (such as KU, Library)
Maintenance and Support
Maintenance and support for notebooks is typically more efficient than desktops if an on-
site repair depot is established.
The cost to support notebooks is lower than desktops because technicians do not need to
go to the student’s room.
Student can “drop off” notebooks for service in the morning and typically pick them up
later the same day.
Notebooks are more likely to suffer significant damage because they are portable and
susceptible to abuse.
Notebooks can be more expensive to service and insure.
Some components on notebooks require off-site repair, which can result in students
waiting an extended period of time for their computer.
Fordham University –February, 2003
Fordham computer users are now able to surf the Web from various locales on the Rose Hill &
Lincoln Center campuses without plugging into an Ethernet port or dialing-up a telephone line.
Fordham's new wireless network, which launched in early February, 2003 allows laptop and
personal digital assistant users to connect to the Web using wireless/radio frequency
technology rather than by the traditional Ethernet card.
The wireless network supports 802.11b High Rate, also known as Wi-Fi technology. Most
laptops manufactured within the past six months to a year come with compatible wireless
networking cards pre-installed. For those that don’t, cards are available for purchase at most
computer retailers and at Fordham’s CompURam stores at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center.
Access points have been installed in most buildings on the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center
campuses, letting users log onto the network from a variety of areas, including study lounges,
cafeterias and libraries. A laptop's wireless card uses radio frequencies to communicate with
the access point then linking the user to the campus network and the Internet. The wireless
network transfers data at about four to five megabytes per second, which is faster than a 56k
modem but slower than a standard Ethernet connection.
According to Jason Benedict, director of computer services and operations, the wireless
campus-wide network is expected to be fully completed by Fall, 2003.
Although there is no service charge to connect to the wireless network, users do need to
register for access. To register or get more information and to learn more about specific
coverage areas and wireless policies, visit http://www.fordham.edu/wireless.
Duquesne has engaged in a pilot wireless network program. As a part of this program, the
University is inviting the participation of a limited number of qualified members of the
University Community. Qualification is based somewhat on the technical capabilities of the
laptop computers owned by these individuals and the environment that they operate their
laptop computers in when not on Duquesne's campus.
The current locations where wireless access is available include:
• 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the Gumberg Library
• The Commuter Lounge on the 1st floor of the Union
• Reasonable coverage in the 4th floor Ballroom of the Union
• 5th floor Options dining facility of the Union
• Minimal coverage on the 6th floor of the Union
Minnesota State University at Mankato
Minnesota State (part of the Minnesota State University system) has implemented wireless in
the library, all outdoor areas, and many classrooms. A laptop distribution has been
implemented by the College of Business. For more information about this plan, see:
Implementation plans for Minnesota State include:
Phase I – Coverage for common study areas and outdoor gathering areas. Summer ’98 to
Phase II – Expand coverage to general classroom areas throughout campus. June ‘02 to
Phase III–Expand coverage to labs and specialty classrooms. January ’03 to June ‘03
Phase IV - Expand coverage to faculty offices.
College of St Benedict and St John’s University
The entire campus supports wireless technology. Wireless capabilities vary depending on the
device, not all will have access to the CSB/SJU network. The wireless data network access
points are IEEE 802.11b compliant. They are NOT compliant with Bluetooth or HomeRF
specifications. Compaq’s IPAQ PDA will work as well as laptops.
Wired equivalent privacy (WEP) 128-bit key encryption scheme is supported. 64-bit
encryption may NOT work.
Currently, the library and some classrooms are wireless, with a test number of laptops
available for checkout and use in the library.
What are the short-term, mid-term, and long-term visions for using wireless?
The short-term was a one-year pilot experiment where Macalester purchased wireless-access
laptop computers, both Macs and PCs, and made them available for public check-out in the
DeWitt Wallace Library. Wireless access points were installed throughout the building so as
to create a complete overlap of wireless signal. The goal was simple: to discover how well the
technology worked as a technology by letting students, faculty and staff "play around" with it,
in the most secure (e.g. limited access/egress) facility on campus.
The success of this program exceeded the most sunny expectations. Macalester then
expanded the wireless checkout program to the newly-constructed Stricker-Dayton Campus
Center. Here, the challenges included a less secure environment, a more difficult-to-cover
space for wireless access, and a less tech-savvy support staff. Macalester has further placed
wireless access points in one academic building, where the tech staff are experimenting with
wireless using some of the professional laptops. This past year, an investment in at one
"COWs" (Classrooms On Wheels) took place. This is a wireless access point, projector and
multiple wireless laptops stored on a cart, located in an academic building and available for
use by interested faculty on a first-come first-served basis.
If the COW model succeeds, the long-term future will involve purchasing more such units--
ideally, one for every academic building--and installing wireless access points in larger lecture
halls and in residence halls. Since the current Ethernet network already wires all on-campus
residence rooms at a ratio of one port per pillow, and all classroom spaces to at least two
active jacks (frequently more, at 100bT speeds), it is expected that the most useful direction
for wireless expansion will be in the "smart" presentation classrooms and large communal
areas of campus buildings, especially residence halls. For example, public computer labs
may become facilities where the computers are portables with 'comfortable' furniture, rather
than rows of desktops on straight tables….
Beyond that, Macalester would hope that wireless might offer advantages in networking some
older facilities whose construction does not easily permit us to run "standard" cable-based
Ethernet networking. Long-term, there is an expectation that wireless access for PDAs will be
What equipment and standards were chosen for your campus network?
Early on, the 802.11b standard was selected and 3COM's AirConnect wireless access points.
Since Macalester is a mixed-platform institution, Macalester purchased Apple iBook laptops
with Apple AirPort cards, as well as Hewlett-Packard OmniBook XE3 laptops with 3COM
AirConnect wireless cards. The Apples had no problem communicating with the AirConnect
access points. The main problem was that the AirConnect cards' antennae protruded from the
PCMCIA slots on the HP laptops, and frequently were sheared off by users' dropping them.
The second time around, when the program was expanded, the PC’s were changed to Dell
Latitude laptops with Dell's built-in wireless.
D. Lessons Learned
Experiences from the UST “peer” institutions, ACTC schools, Minnesota schools
and early adopters have been provided through their web sites. During planning
and implementation of mobile computing, UST will want to consider these insights:
A plan is critical, and should incorporate several pilots and a phased- in
• Successful phased implementation requires central planning, industry
adherence standards, funding, frequency management, security and
authentication, and coordinated implementation. The ideal solution is to
coordinate planning and investment in wireless networks in a manner that
encourages individual colleges and departments to participate rather than
attempting to implement their own systems.
• Be prepared to outsource challenges; consulting help is essential.
• Implement several pilots. One of the key lessons learned has been the
importance of coordination of frequencies used within a given area. The
ability of the radio waves to penetrate walls that make them ideal for large
area network use create overlapping areas among the networks and
equipment where conflicts and interference occur. For example, wireless
computer mice and other accessories in areas of the Fine Arts and
Architecture buildings are inoperable due to RF interference from other 2.4
GHz equipment. Similar problems have occurred with wireless
microphones, and controls in adjacent rooms in buildings throughout the
campus. The need for careful planning and coordination of equipment and
frequencies is one of the most important lessons learned from the pilot
• Buena Vista, CMU both learned that site surveys (whether the access
points are adequate) are a critical part of phasing in the implementation, as
well as overbuilding the network. Battery life is also an important element
to consider when planning.
• Plan a Pilot Year to purge bugs when stakeholders will still tolerate
Focus on the reason for wireless and getting the most bang for the buck
• Successful implementations focus on a main goal, that is, why are we
doing this? The University of St Thomas will want to select the most
important reason why wireless is important.
• Students will be the largest users. Dartmouth revealed that wireless was
used more in the residence halls than anywhere else. With wireless
access across campus, more students will bring laptops to campus. On a
UST peer institution campus, an English student was given access to the
School of Music’s digital recording studio and, with the help of technically
capable students, made a recording of a song he wrote using software on
the notebook. He burned a CD and got some great radio play ….and
launched a music career. A history major received an international award
nomination for instructional design on her learning program that was
created for an environmental science professor. A geology student got a
great job offer from a mining company when they discovered her new
application of mapping oil deposits using a graphic arts software program
that saved them thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, test scores on physics
exams went up marginally after implementing an expensive and carefully
planned technology assisted learning environment.
• If students and their needs are the primary focus for wireless, one
university recommends conducting a study of the student population and
their use of mobile computing and the impact on their learning and
potential job upon graduation. They have some good baseline research
that began with an all-campus survey issued to students that has revealed
some interesting changes in perspective about the impact of technology on
learning. There was, in hindsight, much more interesting baseline data
that should have been gathered.
• Several universities focused most resources and efforts in the mobile
computing project on the academic world with a deliberate attempt to
transform the delivery of education. The results of their efforts are in some
cases positive, and in many cases questionable. Far easier, to both
accomplish and measure, are efforts aimed to improve student life through
the mobile computing program. Enhanced communications for students
and alumni, access to multimedia development facilities, administrative
services to make tasks more convenient – these all have an undeniable
positive impact on students and are relatively easy to accomplish
compared to educational transformation.
• Manage expectations. Some of the most impressive positive results were
unanticipated; some of the expected positive results were not achieved,
therefore a tolerance for failure and an environment that values innovation
are necessary. One university oversold the program to students and
created an expectation that the technology would be used all the time in
class. Despite efforts to change this message, the original expectation still
holds. The faculty support groups provided very special and individual
attention to early adaptors in the initial phases. Now, three years down the
line, the university works with three times as many faculty, but can still be
perceived by some as offering more limited services.
• Communicate. Address faculty and student concerns truthfully,
adequately, and quickly in order to quell rumors. Keep your admissions
office informed. Regularly reconcile program descriptions in university
publications with those on the Web.
• A multi-vendor solution is possible, but difficult. If multiple vendors are
selected, ensure that the two vendors can co-exist. For example, one
university implemented both a Cisco and Avaya solution. Even though
each of these solutions met the 802.11b standard the individual PC
wireless network cards would not work with the other vendors access
points. If at all possible, select one vendor.
• Standardize on hardware, software, and ISP at least at first.
Standardization pays rewards well beyond those anticipated.
• Don’t accept the first bid from a vendor: the market is competitive, and
vendors will improve their bids. Develop strategic partnerships rather than
just buying from vendors. Choose a partner for the long haul.
• The importance of careful consideration when initially placing access
points, the importance of monitoring the locations and of querying users to
determine whether access points should be relocated.
• It is important to do a site survey prior to the purchase and installation of
the equipment. Test the signal strength from planned access point
locations to the furthest area that you want the wireless signal to transmit.
The number and type of walls (concrete or drywall) makes a difference and
the site survey will ensure your assumptions will work.
• Dartmouth has more than 500 Access Points. It’s an art form to figure out
where to place them, and decide how to adjust their signal strengths–it
doesn’t work well to simply turn all of them up to 100 percent because they
will interact with each other. There is always a lot of tweaking regarding
placement and adjustment of APs. There is a lot of trial and error in the
process. One of the ways this was done, was to have teams of students go
around and plug an AP into the nearest network jack, with a long wire to
the AP, and actually test out 2 or 3 various locations.
• It would be less expensive to put access points in new buildings, however,
that is not always possible. In some cases, Dartmouth needed to bring in
an electrical contractor and create new pathways that were high up on
buildings, behind walls and in ceilings that were not typical wired locations.
It was more expensive than the initial plans had prepared for.
• In designing for coverage, CMU planned to space the access points as far
apart as possible, minimizing cost. On the other hand, they knew that one
must avoid coverage gaps, areas where no service will be available to
users. In designing the Wireless Andrew network, CMU found that rules of
thumb are inadequate. Rather, each building design must be based on
careful and exhaustive signal strength measurements. This is particularly
challenging because a building is a three-dimensional space, and an
access point located on one floor of the building provides signal coverage
to adjacent floors of the same building. CMU developed detailed
procedures for conducting these measurements and for locating access
points in a way that maximizes the spacing between access points but also
minimizes coverage overlap between access points.
• The placement of access points and antennas hallways and classrooms is
very important to prevent damage to the equipment. Access points were
installed above the ceilings or high up on walls to prevent tampering. New
electrical outlets needed to be installed to support some of the access
• Assign permanent IP Addresses to each access point as security will be
• It is critical to provide authenticated and encrypted access to network
Management and Support Resources can be Overwhelming
• Getting laptops to students is only 10% of the challenge; decisions about,
and implementation of, policies, training, support, networking, exposure,
and motivation remain ahead.
• Implementing a solution that would not place a burden on existing staff
resources is difficult.
• Making individual computers viable in the hands of end users is a key
component of any ubiquitous computing initiative. Faculty, staff, and
students need computers they can truly count on, and a support
environment that addresses individual computing problems as mission
critical. Support needs to be around the clock, very timely, and highly
effective. Delivering on this is both the reward and the bane of ubiquitous
mobile computing programs.
• In order to leverage limited support services and enable users to do more
for themselves, one university has made an extensive effort to put as
many services as possible on their website. This enables users to take
care of many of their problems or issues without requiring personal
service. Examples of some of the services that can be web enabled are:
• activating all computer related accounts and managing those accounts-
activating shell access—as soon as students are accepted and in the
student administrative database they can take care of this.
• carefully documented directions for many technical problems and
issues so when help desk assists someone, they can leave user with a
URL that they can refer to later if then encounter same problem or
forget the solution
• In order to expand staff in a cost effective way several universities
established a formal, well-developed training program for student employees
to make effective use of that potentially valuable resource. In addition to
providing adequate training, it is also necessary to provide high quality
supervision for students to both ensure that they will deal effectively with
users and have a valuable learning experience for themselves. This helps to
build a cadre of students who continue to work over time and can be
relied upon to do higher levels of support over time. Also, students can
assist with web development projects and in many cases they have skills or
experience with tools that staff do not and end up teaching them. Establish
an online clearinghouse where students can register and list their skills and
interest in working with faculty and faculty can search to identify students
who are willing and able to work with them on technological projects,
websites or other projects.
Seton Hall and the University of Dayton have implemented notebook
programs to support their wireless programs where all students as incoming
freshmen are required to purchase a specific computer. Purchase,
maintenance and support are handled by Seton Hall, whereas, the University
of Dayton contracts all services outside. Seton Hall has found the notebook
program to exceed their initial cost expectations. Each student at Seton Hall
is required to check their notebook in at the beginning of each semester for
support. Marquette University has a pilot laptop program operating in the
Several other universities including Macalester and Minnesota State have
implemented pilot notebook programs.
E. Issues and Concerns
The implementation, growth and maintenance of mobile/wireless computing is not
concern-free. There are several issues that were major discussion and planning
issues that needed to be dealt with as wireless projects unfolded at each of the
universities listed in this review. Each of these issues will require extensive
thought and consideration before wireless implementation occurs. These issues
Everyone would agree that a wireless network is not as secure as a wired one, but
opinions about how to handle this reality tend to fall into two camps.
One approach is to buy added levels of security for the network. Extra security can mean
using special data encryption layers, or adding authentication software and requiring
users to log on with a username and password. This can make the network safer, but it
can also be expensive.
Another approach is to look at the wireless network as a public service similar to campus
courtesy phones, and allow anyone with a laptop and a NIC to access the internet without
needing a username and password. In the same way a visitor can pick up a courtesy
phone and get a dial tone, visitors might use their own computers (or computers borrowed
from a college) to get "IP Tone" and access the web. The cost of this service can be
almost negligible. Some campuses, airports, hotels, and coffee shops already offer this
Security considerations utilized by universities include: firewalls, intrusion detection
systems, VPNs, certification authorities (CAs) and/or public-key infrastructure (PKI).
• Costs of Hardware/Software and laptop maintenance
There are two key factors when estimating the real cost of a wireless network: your
existing wired network structure, and the components of the wireless network itself. A
wireless network is more of a supplement to a traditional network than a replacement for
it. Look at wireless technology as a very useful link in a larger system. For a campus that
has already made a significant investment in its wired infrastructure, the additional
investment in wireless may be fairly painless; the cost for wireless networks is
substantially cheaper than the cost for wired ones. The cost of the wireless network
hardware will depend on how many access points are needed to achieve a given level of
coverage, performance needs, and the brand of equipment chosen.
It will also depend on which expenses are farmed out to students or footed by the college.
For example, some institutions purchase $100,000 - $200,000 worth of laptops for use in
the classroom and/or to be "checked out" in the library. Other campuses have laptop
policies that ensure that all students own their own computers, and pay for the installation
of wireless cards themselves. To get an idea of specific implementation costs for
particular projects, see the case studies for:
• Macalester College (http://www.macalester.edu/infoplan/archived/bandwidth.html
• Seton Hall (http://technology.shu.edu/)
• University of Dayton (http://www.udayton.edu/~notebook/Orientation%20Document.htm
• Minnesota State University (http://www.lib.mankato.msus.edu/lib/laptops.html).
A wireless network will not be as fast as a wired one. For the convenience of mobility,
you pay in the amount of time it takes to send and receive information. This
sometimes makes sharing large digital video, audio, and image files over a wireless
network cumbersome, though not necessarily impossibly so. Data transfer speeds are
measured in megabits per second (Mbps), and the comparison between a wired
Ethernet (a local area network) and a wireless network looks like this:
Wired Common Ethernet = 10 Mbps
Fast Ethernet = up to 100 Mbps
Gigabit Ethernet = 1000 Mbps
Wireless 802.11b = 11 Mbps
802.11a = up to 54 Mbps,
but usually 6, 12, or 24 Mbps
802.11g = up to 54 Mbps over short distances
• Potential for abuse
Be prepared for students to try anything on a wired on wireless
network. Have policies ready BEFORE, e.g. filtering, packet shaping, firewall, proxy,
etc. How do you handle the few who misuse or abuse their network privileges? How do
you handle cell phones or microwaves which interfere with wireless networks? What are
your legal restrictions, and how do you protect yourself from lawsuits when students
• Change in the social structure and method of communication used by
students & faculty in the teaching/learning environment to include constructivism.
Constructivism is learning based on constructing one’s own knowledge. It is situated
learning and presumes that most learning is context-dependent, is based on social
negotiation of knowledge, and requires collaboration in problem-solving tasks. Conway, J.
(1997, May). Educational technology's effect on models of instruction. Retrieved April 30,
2003, from http://copland.udel.edu/~jconway/EDST666.htm
It increases spontaneity. It allows people to communicate and make changes and ask
questions even more on the fly than they could before. There is not a lot of live teaching
use with wireless. Where the greatest use takes place is outside the classroom as people
do their work and as they communicate with each other. It frees people up. Wireless
computing will cause a change in the social culture of the University. The university will
want to be aware that this change will occur.
II. What are the wireless standards?
This section of the paper discusses the 802.11 family of technologies and how
they compare. It also addresses the history, current status, and future of the
security issues faced with these technologies. It concludes with some
recommendations for the UST campus deployment.
Secondly, it describes network hardware and software and student network cards
that are compatible with the 802.11 family and advantages and disadvantages of
B. 802.11 Technology Family
802.11 is the name of the IEEE standard developed for wireless networking for
medium distances. The most popular version of the standard is 802.11b, widely
deployed and accepted by consumers and by numerous vendors and add-on
Recently, two other family members were added, 802.11a and 802.11g. 802.11a
offers communication on 5.0 GHz, which is a less crowded communication
frequency than the 2.4 GHz found in 802.11b. Many devices operate on 2.4 GHz,
including cordless phones, baby monitors, wireless web cameras, and microwave
ovens, leading to interference concerns. In practice, this seldom creates a
significant problem due to the robustness of the protocol. 802.11a also offers
significantly more non-interfering channels (12 compared to 3), and more
throughput (54 Mbps compared to 11 Mbps) which can allow for more densely
packed access points which in turn could serve more users. In practice, the
actual throughputs are smaller (4-6 Mbps for 802.11b and 15-20Mbps for
802.11a). Finally, the distances for 802.11a are smaller than 802.11b (75 ft
compared to 150 feet). Table 1 highlights the key technology differences.
There is one important caveat with 802.11g. While it does provide backward
compatibility with 802.11b, most access points will provide only 802.11b data
rates when there is a mixture of 802.11b and 802.11g clients using that access
point, which is the likely scenario in a campus environment.
802.11b 802.11a 802.11g 802.11a/g
Ship Date Late 1999 Late 2001 Mid-2003 Mid-2003
AP/Router Cost $55-$160 $100-$130 $130-$200 $300
PC Card Cost $30-$90 $100 $80-$130 $100
Frequency 2.4 GHz 5.0 GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Max 11 Mbps 54 Mbps 54 Mbps 54 Mbps
Usable 4-6 Mbps 15-20 Mbps 15-20 Mbps 15-20 Mbps
Max Indoor 150 feet 75 feet 150 feet A: 75 feet
Range B: 150 feet
Signal DSSS OFDM OFDM OFDM
Compatibility G None Backward to A: None
B B: G
Max Users/AP 32 64 64 128
Number Non- 3 12 (might 3 16
Overlapping move to 24)
Most Popular Homes, Offices, Homes, Homes, Offices,
Deployments offices Enterprises Offices, Enterprises,
(mature, (higher Enterprises Home Media
inexpensive) throughput (greater Servers (greater
and larger throughput throughput, and
channels and compatibility)
support more compatibility)
Deployed in Yes No No No
Table 1: 802.11 Comparisons (source: PC Magazine Special Wireless Issue, 2003)
C. Wireless Network Security
Wireless networks are a broadcast technology, and are therefore susceptible to
unauthorized reception, exposing the privacy of legitimate users. In addition,
these networks can allow unauthorized users to do everything from receive
Internet access and bandwidth to using the wireless network to gain access to
other network resources such as shared files and printers. With special
antennas, attackers can receive wireless network signals from up to 6 blocks
away. Often, exposed networks are discovered by wardrivers (one who locates
and logs wireless access points while in motion. WarDriving was invented by
Peter Shipley and now commonly practiced by hobbyists, hackers and security
analysts worldwide), and the GPS coordinates of vulnerable networks are
published on the Internet for others to explore.
The original 802.11b specification provided encryption capability for both privacy
and authentication with a facility called WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). In this
scheme, the access point and each client share a cryptographic key (at least 40
bits long, preferably 104 bits long). This key must be kept secret. In addition, the
access point and client must share a network name, or SSID, in order to connect.
This SSID, unlike the WEP key, is not a secret and is broadcast in the clear.
Using WEP is the first step toward security of a wireless network. Unfortunately,
approximately half of all wireless networks do not turn on this option, which
exposes their network to significant security risk.
Some solutions exist to further control access to the wireless network. For
example, some access points allow a list of MAC (hardware) addresses of
wireless network cards that describe authorized users. So, new users must
register their cards before they are allowed to connect. Unfortunately, these MAC
addresses can be wirelessly sniffed, and then attackers can modify their
hardware to use that same MAC address, and pose as an authorized user.
In addition to the problem of users not turning WEP on, WEP itself is
cryptographically flawed. These flaws have enabled software tools to break a
WEP key by listening to encrypted data. It takes about 500Mbytes to 1GByte of
traffic in order to accomplish this with freely available software that runs on
standard hardware. Once an attacker has the WEP key, they can not only
decrypt future traffic that uses that key, but also decrypt any old traffic that they
have stored that used that key as well.
So, for sensitive information, it is important to treat any wireless links as if they
were insecure. End-to-end cryptography can provide a layer of protection on top
of all the communication links, and is currently the best protection from the WEP
issues. Examples of these technologies include VPNs (Virtual Private Networks),
and SSL (Secure Socket Layer), SSH (Secure Shell). So, for example, a user
that connects to Amazon and enters credit card information is protected because
they use the SSL protocol (the browser lock), and this encrypts the information
from the user's computer to Amazon's server, and is therefore secure over any
wireless (or other) links. VPNs can similarly secure all traffic from a user's
computer to a corporate or campus server. With VPN technology, WEP can be
disabled, eliminating the key management issue.
The industry has responded to the security issues with a plethora of proprietary
solutions, which typically require special client wireless cards, specific client
operating systems, authentication servers, and special access points. Examples
include some of the Cisco LEAP and 802.1X solutions.
The real solution is to fix the standards. The IEEE has responded with 802.11i,
which addresses the security issues in two phases. This standard is not
expected to finalize until 2Q04. In the first phase (TKIP), a firmware upgrade
could be applied to existing hardware to improve the security. The wireless
industry has defined a Wireless Protected Access certification for products that
implement this upgrade. While this ensures that new hardware has the improved
security capability, vendors are probably not motivated to provide this upgrade for
legacy products. And, many access points have to be configured to the "least
common denominator" for security, which in a mixed campus environment will be
WEP, not TKIP, for a long time to come. The second phase requires new
wireless network hardware as well.
In addition, rogue access points, which are purchased by users and plugged into
a network without the permission or knowledge of the IT team, can pose a
significant security exposure. There are internal and external tools that can help
detect the presence of these access points, but user education can help reduce
the problem at little cost.
There are a host of other wireless network security best practices, including
obscure SSIDs, disabling SSID broadcasts, physical AP security, optimized
antenna coverage, SNMP password management, static IP address assignment
with disabled DHCP, and separate DMZs for wireless networks. Some of these
are probably not feasible in a campus environment.
D. Network hardware and software and student network cards that
are compatible with the 802.11 family
According to the Dell'Oro Group's August 2003 market research report on the
802.11 market, the overall 802.11 market grew 2% in revenues and 6% in
shipments in 2Q03 compared with 1Q03. But, 802.11b revenues declined for the
second consecutive quarter while 802.11g revenues grew 48% and now make up
24% of the total market revenue. Prices of 802.11b have also dropped 10% in
that period. Specifically, here is their latest market share data.
Wireless LAN - 802.11 Total Market
(Includes Enterprise and SOHO-class Access Points/Bridges, Broadband Gateways
and NICs for 802.11b, 802.11g and Multimode)
Total Market 2Q03
MFG Revenue ($M) $419
NETGEAR 5 * Please note that Linksys’ market
position moved from 1 to 3 this quarter due to a one-time change in
revenue recognition policy following Cisco’s purchase of the
company. Prior to this change, the total market would have increased
8% on a revenue basis and 15% on a unit shipment basis. Similarly,
Linksys’ total revenue market share would have been 18%, placing
them in the top position.
Most UST students are likely to have one of two configurations of wireless
connectivity. In one case, they may own a laptop with built-in 802.11b capability,
especially with the growing presence of Intel's Centrino technology which is
integrated into the motherboard. Or, they are likely to have a retail product
purchased at Best Buy or CompUSA, which is typically Linksys, D-Link, or
Netgear. Buffalo is a vendor with strong overseas presence just making inroads
into the US market, also aiming at the retail consumer market. The Cisco
products are rarely found on consumer/student systems, but they tend to have
the best reception capabilities, and have advanced security features not found in
the consumer products.
If the student owns an Apple machine, it is likely to contain Airport wireless
hardware, which is 802.11b. Most students with PC are likely to have Windows
XP as their operating system, which provides first-class support for wireless.
So, UST should expect the bulk of student systems are 802.11b capable with
consumer-grade hardware, with growing 802.11g presence in coming years. If a
student does not currently have wireless support, it can be added for about $40
by purchasing an adapter card from one of the many retail sources.
E. UST Recommendations
802.11b is currently the technology of choice by most users, primarily due to cost.
The next technology wave will be dominated by 802.11g. So, if UST is
purchasing new access points, it is worth investing in the 802.11g technology if
the investment costs over 802.11b are not too great. But, with most access
points, if there is even one user that is using an 802.11b card, all users will
experience the lower 802.11b throughput, so there may not be an immediate
benefit. There is probably not a near-term scenario where 802.11a is
With the state of wireless security, and in consideration of the diverse client
hardware in a campus environment, it is probably best to use a VPN to secure the
wireless link. Most other solutions have hardware and/or software requirements
that are not likely to be easily met from this diverse client base. In the future, as
the 802.11i solutions become more prevalent, the VPN requirement can go away,
but this will probably take years to accomplish. For current purchases, UST
should require WPA certification.
Also, UST may need technology to control the bandwidth available per user. It is
possible (and probable) that some users will set up wireless music and video
servers that will consume substantial bandwidth that will be unavailable to others.
Wireless Gateway products are available to help with this.
Finally, user education for faculty, staff, and students, must take place. This
should cover setup and operation, security procedures and limitations, and the
dangers of using unauthorized equipment such as access points in the network.
III. Design of UST wireless campus access
Where should wireless access points be implemented on the University of St.
The library is currently implementing wireless access points as are several rooms
throughout campus. Beyond this, a next phase that is consistent with how other
universities have implemented wireless, would be to implement wireless in
student common areas such as student study areas, lounges and resource
centers. This would enable communities of students to conveniently work in
study/lounge areas on projects with other students while having access to the
UST network and the internet. Beyond this, implementation in select conference
areas/faculty/staff meeting spaces and auditoriums for use by faculty and
students may be warranted. Growth of the number of access points will need to
be monitored based on results from tests and experience with interference and
Based on experiences from other universities, advice from current research
articles written on the topic and experts in the field, any deployment of wireless at
the University of St Thomas will not be without difficulty. Wired stations will never
go away due to issues including: cost, security, and reliability. Deployment of
wireless should be phased in over many years with an evaluation component built
in after each phase so that lessons learned can be implemented.
Decisions about where to put access points on campus will require careful testing
and the following should be considered:
Readily available maps of wireless coverage areas with an indication of signal
strength and interference will aid the user in determining where coverage will be
• Testing of interference and accessibility (signal strength) problems in
potential places where access points may be located should occur. With
testing, it may be that some places being considered are not suitable.
• A method to detect and disable rogue wireless access points is
needed. This means it is mandatory to utilize sensors and management
software with appropriate follow-up.
• Management software to measure, report, and provide trend analysis on
bandwidth use based on time, user ID, location, etc. is needed.
• Other university wireless programs show some concern about the
11MBPS speeds. Some careful thought should be given to the 54 MBPS
speeds as a goal, with the 11 MBPS speeds as interim.
• All wireless is ultimately based on wired connections to access
points. Some modest increase in loading should be anticipated, but if our
student count remains the same, the increase should not be dramatic.
Other related issues that must be considered include:
• Security of wireless networking is a problem and the industry appears to
be moving slowly toward adopting standard solutions. Until satisfactory
solution is readily available, UST should restrict data traffic to that which
can be compromised. This means Banner student data, for example,
should not be made available over an insecure wireless network.
• Control is necessary for Viruses, worms, spyware and related pests
because they are common with computer access via wireless. Some
measure of control is necessary to help ensure that computing equipment
meets current standards (e.g., Blaster worm patch applied) before
connecting to the UST wireless facilities. All operating systems must be
treated equally in this regard.
• Based on the size of UST’s wireless project, consideration should be
given to hiring an outside wireless design firm to prepare detailed
plans of wireless access point placement to attain the coverage desired.
In addition, provision should be made for updating coverage as traffic
shifts, due to changing building usage patterns.
• Initial wireless implementation should be budgeted at modest level to
remain competitive schools similar to UST. This would involve
coverage such as in the libraries, dining areas and other gathering areas.
Replacement of dormitory hard wiring and extensive coverage in
classroom buildings would have to be based on a cost/benefit analysis.
III. AirSpace requirements, policies, implementation, education,
support and other initiatives to be considered to support a
Implementing a wireless network isn’t as easy as plugging in a network cable and
configuring an access point. Yes, with all the planning you may have an excellent
wireless network, but if the users it was intended for do not know how to use it,
B. Airspace Requirements and policies
The Networking Standard 802.11 uses the FCC unlicensed 2.4 GHz
Industrial/Scientific/Medical (ISM). This is also the frequency on which other
devices such as cordless phones, speakers, and microwaves use. This is a
potential problem when it comes to possible malicious use of the network. Similar
to the way the FCC regulates frequencies for handheld walkie-talkies, UST would
have to place some restrictions on devices that use the 2.4 GHz frequency. The
biggest and most obstructive problem would be the entrance of other 802.11
rogue access points. A policy would have to be established to monitor and
prohibit some types of access points from the campus. This step would eliminate
most possible disturbances on the set of frequencies. That policy is obvious and
relatively easy to enforce with a simple handheld device. A larger problem is the
disturbances from non-802.11 access points in the 2.4 GHz frequency. These
are much harder to pinpoint and quiet. First, on campus it is impossible, with the
current phone network infrastructure, to attach a cordless telephone. This will
eliminate one of the biggest possible frequency disrupters. Other types of
interference will have to be reviewed on a case by case basis, such as if a
security system was interfering, it would be highly unlikely that the moving of it
would benefit enough users for the cost it would incur. If a user was creating a
disturbance with some sort of appliance, the Network Administrator could trace it
and request cessation.
C. System Requirements specifications for students/faculty/staff
Here is a list of the standard outlined specifications for Wireless Andrew at
Carnegie Mellon University. These would work well for the University of St.
Recommended – We will recommend for all users - use of the service or
technology over competing alternatives, supported or unsupported. In most
cases Computing Services will offer an advanced level of support for a
recommended operating system. This support usually includes providing training
courses for the recommended operating system.
Supported - We will provide all reasonable means available to us to detect and
resolve a problem experienced with the service or technology. Often, we will be
able to provide direct assistance for configuration and installation as well as
Unsupported - We will provide no support for the service or technology. We
reserve the right to ban the technology should it interfere with supported services.
Banned - Because the use of the service or technology may result in a loss of
service to others, it will not be allowed on the campus network. Although we will
attempt to explain the reasons for banning services or technologies, we will not
disclose information that would help users with malicious intentions.
Generally most schools, as well as most wireless network operators, suggest one
type of wireless card to buy for incoming freshman, as well as any student
wanting to get access with their laptop. Wireless Andrew suggests Agere
Systems ORiNOCO. This is no doubt because their access points are from
ORiNOCO. Due to the fact that most students don’t know which one to buy, it is
suggested that a standard be set to which type of card to get. This has many
benefits such as support, testing, and pricing. This was further discussed in a
The need for differing access levels for faculty or students does not really exist in
the wireless world, you either have access or you don’t.
The Operating Specifications will mostly lie within the wireless card’s
manufacturer. They establish standards that computers must meet to
successfully operate a wireless card. This seems like a logical reference point,
because wireless at UST would not require anything above those requirements.
D. How to establish a connection
Establishing a connection can be extremely easy or rather difficult based on the
amount of security instituted. The most basic is using a software program that
comes with a wireless card, or with Windows XP’s built in wireless client. This
simple requires the user to select an available network from a list of networks.
This gives the user instant access. One layer of security that can be added is a
radius type authentication. Users would be required to navigate to a website in
order to receive complete network access. Their access would be limited to a
single website until the user typed in his or her username and password. This
would add their MAC address as a trusted client. They would then have access.
This type of security would keep non-users from having access to network
resources. Another additional security measure might include adding a type of
VPN. Adding a VPN would secure all transmissions over the wireless network.
Each user would have to type in a username and password to create a “tunnel”
trough the wireless network. The University of Minnesota’s wireless network
features such security as VPN.
E. Availability of the network
Network Availability is mostly based on budget. Essentially the more money
available, the more access points can be purchased. More access points mean a
higher availability to the network. The OSF Library is the first logical area for a
wireless network. The network would be available for all students and staff twenty
four hours a day and seven days a week.
F. Bandwidth Guidelines
Guidelines for bandwidth over wireless will be similar to those over most wired
systems. The guidelines may be a little tighter because wireless networks
experience a smaller amount of throughput than the average wired network.
Guidelines are put in place so all users have the ability to use the network to its
fullest without hindering another users ability. Wireless Andrew has compiled a good
explanation of possible guidelines:
Demand for outbound bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted over
the link at any given time) exceeds the quantity purchased by the University and
traffic is noticeably congested during peak usage periods. Computing Services has
developed these guidelines to help to ensure that all users are able to obtain their fair
share of this limited resource.
The primary area of concern at this time is the outbound traffic over the commodity
link. Outbound traffic is the result of two types of activity:
• Users at Carnegie Mellon send information to machines at other points on the
• Users at other points on the internet request and receive information from a
machine at Carnegie Mellon.
The second of these is the most common cause of high outbound use of the network
link. There are many services by which users at other points on the internet access
and retrieve data from machines at Carnegie Mellon. These include, but are not
limited to, the following:
• Web servers
• Peer-to-Peer file sharing
• FTP servers
• Multiplayer Gaming and game servers
Many of these services are provided within the overall research and educational goals
of the university. Even so, those providing services must do so in a way that does not
consume an unfair percentage of the available network bandwidth and, thus, deny
other users of their fair share.
Most of these guidelines will be up to the users to regulate. Certain ports and
services can be blocked or given a smaller piece of the bandwidth with wireless
similar to a wired network.
G. A laptop project that should be separated from the wireless project.
The market is moving at a rate that there is a gradual shift in computer
purchases from desktop to laptop, and wireless equipment is readily available.
Just look at any Best Buy advertisement. The laptop issue can be a
boondoggle. In other words, other universities have found the support costs and
time for laptop disbursement and maintenance has been overwhelming. This
should be a careful and thoughtful decision.
Conway, J. (1997, May). Educational technology's effect on models of
instruction. Retrieved April 30, 2003, from
Buena Vista University
Carnegie Mellon University
College of St Catherine’s
Loyola University Chicago
Minnesota State University
Seton Hall University
St. Louis University
St John’s- St Benedict’s
University of Dayton
University of Minnesota
University of San Diego
DESIGN PROCESS from SITES at University of Illinois:
The University of Illinois is large enough to have a Network Design Office.
http://www.cites.uiuc.edu/wireless/index.html for a general description of their
wireless environment and their VLAN approach.
A flowchart of how a university department can design and install a wireless site.
http://www.cites.uiuc.edu/wireless/admin/wirelessflowchart.jpg. This chart appears below:
Since UST may employ CISCO equipment, the following book would be most useful.
Deploying License-Free Wireless Wide-Area Networks
By Jack Unger. Published by Cisco Press.
Other books listed at: http://www.informit.com/ and select “Wireless”
Carnegie Mellon University
CMU is a larger institution that is an early adopter and leader in the wireless networking
arena and began their wireless network back in 1994. It is known for its advanced
information technology leadership, and wireless is a part of it.
“Wireless Andrew” is the name of their wireless network, which supports 2200 users on
an average day.
• For a description of how CMU’s wirelss history, see
• See also: Carnegie Mellon Researchers Can Help Build Reliable "Wi-Fi" Wireless
Networks at http://www.cmu.edu/cmnews/020411/020411_wifi.html