Wireless FAQ

  • What do you mean when you say the campus is "wireless"?

    The wireless network is designed to allow laptop computers and other mobile devices to connect to the campus backbone using wireless radio technology rather than the traditional wired ethernet card that we use today in our desktop computers.

    The technology supports “roaming” so that your wireless connection persists even as you move about the campus with your device.

    Please note, the wireless network is not the same as a cellular network.

  • Will the wireless network replace the wired one I'm connected to now?

    Absolutely not. The wireless network is offered as an added service, primarily for laptop users. It is considered a “network of convenience” and has secondary priority to our existing wired network service. It does not lend itself to high bandwidth applications such as video streaming, large document printing, or large file transfers, particularly when shared by many users.

    You should know that the wired network is faster, supports more bandwidth, is more secure, and more reliable than the wireless network.

  • How does the wireless network work?

    There are currently over 100 devices called Access Points (AP) installed at strategic locations on campus. These Access Points are physically connected to our wired network. A wireless card, similar to a traditional ethernet card, is installed in your laptop. The wireless card in your laptop uses specific radio frequencies to communicate with the Access Point and through it to the campus network and to the internet.

    Each of the Access Points on campus advertises itself by broadcasting what is known as a SSID or Service Set Identifier. Our Access Points typically broadcast three (3) SSIDs:

    guest@CBU – an unencrypted connection that only requires authentication through a Captive Portal using a temporary user name and password that has an expiry date. This SSID is for guests and visitors to the campus and allows access to the Internet but very limited access to services on campus. Please note, faculty, staff, and student logins will not work with this SSID.

    CBU-Secure – a more secure connection that uses encryption from end to end.  This is the primary SSID for Students, Faculty and Staff.

    Eduroam – (education roaming) is the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. Eduroam allows students, researchers and staff from participating institutions to obtain Internet connectivity across campus and when visiting other participating institutions by simply opening their mobile device.  Cape Breton University is a member of the Eduroam community. In Canada, the program is operated by CANARIE.

    What does this mean for you as a student or employee of CBU?

    When you visit another institution, notice if the wifi options include Eduroam. Select this option and enter your CBU user name and password. Your CBU credentials allow you to access the internet. Similarly, visitors to CBU from other Eduroam institutions can access the internet using their home credentials.

    Eduroam is currently available in more than 65 countries worldwide.  For more information on EDUROAM, visit http://www.canarie.ca/identity/eduroam/

    Details for connecting your laptop to one of these SSIDs can be found elsewhere in this FAQ.

  • Do I have to buy special equipment to use the wireless network with my laptop?

    Most modern laptop computers have a built in wireless adapter. There is no need for any other hardware to connect to the wireless network here on campus.

    Please note, if your laptop is older it may not have a built in wireless adapter or it may only support an older technology that our new wireless infrastructure does not support. A newer wireless card can be purchased for these laptops and installed in either a USB port or a card slot depending upon the make and model of your laptop.

  • Do I need to have/buy an Access Point?

    No. The Access Points are provided, installed, and configured by the university. In fact it is crucial to the proper functionality of the wireless network that the frequencies and locations of the Access Points be centrally administered by IT Services. Unauthorized Access Points can severely hamper the usability of the wireless network and disrupt services to those trying to connect. IT Services will identify and disconnect unauthorized Access Points when found connected to the network.

    If you currently have an Access Point in your office or Lab we will be asking you to turn it off as the new wireless network should provide you with all the wireless connectivity you need.

  • What wireless protocols are supported?

    The CBU wireless network supports the 802.11g and the 802.11n wireless (WiFi) standards. Your laptop wireless adapter must also support one of these protocols in order to connect to the wireless network.

    Although not a wireless standard, your web browser must also support an SSL connection as the Captive Portal login page uses SSL to protect your user name and password if using guest@CBU.

    In order to use the WPA2 encrypted connection (CBU-Secure) your device must also support the WPA2, 802.1x, and PEAP protocols used for authentication and encryption.

  • Am I required to use the wireless network?

    Use of our wireless network is completely optional. It is provided as an additional method of connecting to the CBU network for your laptop computer.

    Please note, there are reasons why you may NOT want to use the wireless network. See the topic “Is wireless communication secure?” and “Will the wireless network replace the wired one I’m connected to now?”

  • Why would I want to use the wireless network?

    The wireless network provides convenience and mobility. Using the wireless card in your laptop allows you to access the CBU network from locations that do not have hard wired connections or near by power plugs, such as the cafeteria, library, lounges, conference rooms and, in some cases, outdoors.

    For those who occasionally need to run both their laptop and desktop computers in their office you no longer need a second wired network connection or mini-switch installed in your office.

  • Is wireless communication secure?

    By its very nature wireless networking is insecure. Anyone with the proper equipment and knowledge can access a wireless network and can even “sniff” data propagating through the air via radio waves, think of it like a cordless phone. While WPA2 encryption provides a good measure of security it is by no means a perfect solution.

    Computer Services recommends against using the wireless network to access banking services, online shopping sites requiring credit card processing or any other service that involves the transmission of personal, private, or confidential data.

  • Where on campus can I use the wireless network?

    Just about everywhere! Access Points have been strategically placed to provide wireless access to class rooms, labs, office areas, lounges, library, cafeteria, Field House, Canada Games Complex, Oasis Room, meeting rooms, bookstore, bus shelter, and the court yard area outdoors.

     

  • How do I connect to the wireless network?

    When you have your laptop scan for available wireless networks you should see our three valid SSIDs being broadcast from one or more of our Access Points:

    guest@CBU

    CBU-Secure

    Eduroam

    Any other SSID that is displayed is from an unauthorized Access Point or device setup in peer-to-peer mode. It is highly recommended that you do not try to connect to any of those unauthorized devices.

    CBU users should opt to connect to the CBU-Secure SSID. Once you have selected this SSID you should be prompted to enter a username and password, and then may be prompted to accept a security certificate.

    For faculty and staff your login name and password are the same ones you use when you login to your desktop computer.

    For students your username is your CBU email address and same password you use with it.

  • Will my MAC laptop work on this network?

    Your MAC should be running MAC OS X 10.2 or greater and have a wireless adapter that supports the 802.11g or 802.11n wireless protocol.

    Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 are the other supported platforms.

  • What about Windows CE devices, Linux laptops, iPods, and other PDA devices?

    If these devices are compatible WPA2 authentication protocols they should work. However, because these platforms are not supported, IT Services is not prepared to provide assistance with these machines.

  • Are there any restrictions on using the wireless network?

    Yes. Wireless devices must not be used for connecting to university business systems such as Finance, HR/Payroll, Student Information System, or other systems that contain sensitive or confidential information, or are critical to the operation of the university unless using the WPA encrypted protocols.

    Furthermore, the wireless network is taken down each day between 3:00 and 4:00am for maintenance reasons. This may cause a disruption in any automated or continuous monitoring/streaming services.

  • Can I do everything with a wireless connection that I can on the wired one?

    No. In addition to restricting access to sensitive data systems on campus, printing from a wireless laptop is generally not supported and, the wireless network, being a shared medium, does not lend itself to high bandwidth requirement services like video streaming or large file upload/downloads. These are activities better suited to the wired network

  • Can anybody get connected to CBU's wireless network?

    No. To ensure that University computing resources are not exposed to unauthorized users everyone must login and authenticate before gaining access to the network.

    You are strongly encouraged NOT to share your login name and password with others to use. Should you do so that person can easily impersonate you on the Internet sending emails in your name, accessing your existing emails, and possibly accessing other systems here on campus. Furthermore, violations of the Acceptable Networking Use Policies by the imposter could force a suspension of your CBU account.

  • Is wireless access available for visitors?

    Yes. Temporary login names and passwords can be created for visitors or conferences. These accounts will automatically expire after a specified period of time and are required to use the guest@cbu SSID when connecting to the wireless network. These logins are more restrictive than other CBU login accounts.

    To obtain a temporary login for visitors or conferences please contact the Help Desk with the particular details so that they can create an appropriate account. Be prepared to provide the visitors name/event name, start date and end date. Must be requested by a CBU Employee.

  • Can I print from the wireless network?

    The wireless network does not support printers with built-in wireless capability. When the wireless network was designed, it was decided wireless printing would not be supported due to network loads. We wanted to make sure that all available connections are available for user devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets used by our faculty and students. We are currently supporting an average of 2000 user devices on a daily basis. The second reason that we can’t support wireless printing is that most printers do not support enterprise wireless connections like we provide here. The printers typically do not support advanced encryption techniques and user authentication protocols. Regretfully we will not be able to connect the printer over wireless. If the printer supports a wired connection you would need another data connection installed in the office. The best option is to use a USB direct connection to the printer.

  • Can I just install my own wireless network on campus?

    No. The Access Points installed by the university are self-tuning and adjust their power output and channel frequencies based on the proximity of other APs. Unauthorized APs can cause interference with this self-tuning process and result in other users being unable to obtain a functional wireless connection.

    IT Services monitors the wireless frequency spectrum for unauthorized Access Points and will take measurers to disable those Access Points.

    In cases where the interfering device is being used for a specific research or teaching application, our network administrator will work with faculty to minimize the interference and accommodate the device without disrupting the university wireless network. In the event that both cannot operate without interference the specific research/teaching application will take precedence over the general population’s use of the wireless network.

  • How many people can use the wireless network at the same time?

    The wireless network was designed to support hundreds of simultaneous users, however, the more people actively using the network the slower it gets, particularly if a large number of users are connected to the same Access Point. Under normal conditions a typical Access Point can handle 30-40 devices without seriously affecting performance.

  • I can get connected to the wireless network but my computer tells me the connection is only at 19Mbps, is my laptop broken?

    No your laptop is not broken, this is normal behaviour. The advertised speed of the network is a theoretical maximum and you are unlikely to achieve those speeds in real world conditions.

    A wireless network is more prone to disruption and interference than a wired network. Your connection speed can be affected by physical obstructions such as filing cabinets, desks, pillars, metal backed whiteboards, chalk boards and other construction materials. Your distance from the Access Point can also affect your speed, the further away you are from it the lower your speed may be.

    Also, the bandwidth of the wireless network is shared among all users who are connected to a particular Access Point. If you are in a crowded area with other wireless users you may see significantly reduced speeds.

    Unauthorized Access Points can also adversely affect your wireless network connection performance as their radio signals can interfere with our Access Point communications.

  • What should I do if I get a poor speed indication?

    Moving your laptop physically closer to an Access Point should give you better signal strength and performance.

    If you are in a crowded area with many other wireless users try relocating to an area closer to a different Access Point. Even if the signal strength of another AP is lower you may find that you get better performance from it as it is not being used by as many users.

  • Where can I get help with setting up my wireless connection?

    The staff at the Help Desk located in the Marvin Harvey Building (B-Block) will be able to help you with any questions regarding the setup and configuration of your wireless device. You can also email them at HelpDesk@cbu.ca or phone them at (902) 563-1123.