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InfobITS logo, volume 7, number 2, winter 2001.

 

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UH Wireless Network Initial Rollout Begins at Manoa
by ITS Wireless Technical and Support Team

The UH Wireless Network now provides a convenient way for you to access e-mail and the Web from selected locations on the Manoa campus, without wires. It uses the well-known and mature 802.11b or "Wi-Fi" standard. Wireless access points have been initially installed at Manoa for coverage in Paradise Palms and along McCarthy Mall. For the latest coverage maps and roaming zones, FAQs, and other information, see the UHM Wireless Network homepage at:

www.hawaii.edu/wireless

Prerequisites

All users must have a valid ITS username to be able to use the UH wireless network. This will prevent unauthorized access to the UH network by people not affiliated with the University.

You must have an 802.11b wireless card and client software from the vendor installed in your computer.

Finally, you will need to know the Network Name and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) key or password for the UH wireless network. You can get this information at:

www.hawaii.edu/wireless/validate.html

by entering your ITS username and password (which will be encrypted as it is sent). Or you can contact the ITS Help Desk in Keller 105 or at 956-8883.

Then enter the Network Name and WEP key (password) into your client software and you're ready to get started.

Note that you are not required to reconfigure your IP address settings, although we recommend that your computer be setup to use DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol) to request a valid Internet IP address from the DHCP server. But if your computer is already manually configured with a specific IP address, default gateway, and DNS server information, these will be automatically translated as needed to permit wireless network access.

The ITS Help Desk is initially prepared to fully support the Orinoco 802.11b Gold and Silver wireless cards and client software. Other standard 802.11b wireless cards and clients should also work and experienced users will have no trouble connecting with them. As documentation for other cards and clients becomes available that information will become available on the UH Wireless Network homepage.

Getting Connected

Once your computer is set up as described above you just need to open your Web browser and request any Web page on the Internet, e.g., http://www.hawaii.edu. The UH Wireless network authentication process is browser-based to maximize compatibility with the widest variety of computers. When you first request a URL that requires network access the authentication process will begin. Please be patient until a status page saying "You are being connected" appears. You will then be asked to enter your ITS username and password. This information will be encrypted while it is being sent. After you click on the "Enter" button you will be redirected back to the Web page you requested. Note that until you attempt to open a Web page with your browser you will not be able to access any other network resources, including connecting an e-mail client such as Eudora to your host-based mailbox.

If you are using a compatible Java & JavaScript-enabled browser, a small window titled "Information and Control Console" (ICC) will pop up. Internet Explorer is the preferred browser for wireless access from Macintosh systems; Netscape/Macintosh users may not see the ICC. The ICC window will show you the time remaining before your authentication expires, along with a few other useful links. You will not lose your authentication if you close the ICC window, although it may reappear a few times. When your authentication expires during a very long session online, you just need to request a Web page and you will be prompted to login again. If you seem to have lost your network access and do not see the ICC window, you may have been timed out. Just open your Web browser and request a networked Web page and you will be able to re-authenticate and re-connect.

Sharing the Commons

802.11b technology uses shared network capacity at two levels. First, it is similar to working on a shared ethernet. So for maximal performance and as a courtesy to others, it will be helpful if you refrain from playing long-duration high-bandwidth streaming media, performing very large file transfers, etc. during peak traffic periods. Secondly, the radio frequencies used by 802.11b are also used by certain other wireless devices.

To prevent disruption of the UH Wireless Network, please do not use 2.4GHz cordless phones or other devices such as wireless cameras or speakers that use the 2.4GHz frequency range in areas that are now or may soon have wireless coverage. Fortunately, non-2.4GHz alternatives are available for most of these other devices.

What's Next

ITS will be initially concentrating on expanding and improving coverage in more common areas of campus to provide network connectivity where no wired connectivity exists. In addition, we will be refining the service and invite your suggestions.

While there is no lump sum of millions of dollars to make the entire University wireless at once, the architecture for this initial implementation is scalable to serve the entire University given enough Wireless Access Points. If you are interested in having your building or department become part of the UH Wireless Network, please contact Harry Morita at the ITS Telecom Office at 956-6033 to arrange an initial consultation. Departments will be required to fund the cost of the equipment required for the installation. But as each new area becomes part of the UH Wireless Network, the overall coverage available is wider both for the new unit and the entire campus community.

UH Wireless homepage: www.hawaii.edu/wireless

 

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©2001 University of Hawaii
Updated: November 21, 2001