Eduroam… WOW!

Did you know that your status as a member of the UC Irvine community gives you access to hundreds of wireless networks around the USA and the world?

Eduroam is a service that lets users at various institutions use one another’s networks by sending a permission request back to the home campus.  Once enabled, users often report surprise when their devices connect intelligently – and without prompting – to Eduroam sites away from home.

One key thing about Eduroam is that you must configure it on campus before using it anywhere else.

How can you get started with Eduroam? Have a look at the set up instructions from OIT: http://www.oit.uci.edu/eduroam/

If you run into any trouble the OIT Help Desk is ready to help: oit@uci.edu, x42222, or via our new Help Center.

Visitor Access to UCInet Mobile Access

UCInet Mobile Access is UCI’s wireless (WiFi) network, accessible from almost anywhere on campus.  Normally, access to this network is restricted to devices previously registered by their campus (faculty, staff, student) owners.

However, the wireless network includes a system for limited, short-term access by visitors.  Called “Visitor Express Registration,” visitors may connect to the network, agree to certain terms of use, then be connected to UCInet for a 24-hour period up to seven times in a month.  Visitor use of UCInet is restricted to Web, email (IMAP and SMTP), and secure shell (SSH).

If visitors need longer access than Visitor Registration provides, a UCI faculty, staff, or graduate student may register the visitor’s device for up to 4 weeks using manual registration.  The visitor only needs to supply the MAC address.

UCI also supports the Eduroam standard, allowing visitors whose home institution also supports Eduroam to use that network ID to connect to UCInet Mobile Access.

Visitor Access to UCInet

UCInet Mobile Access

1-Day Access

Visitors to the campus who need temporary access to the internet with a laptop or mobile device may make use of Express Registration for the UCInet Mobile Access network.  In order to do this, the visitor should go to a wireless access location, open a web browser, and connect to any web page.  (See list of wireless locations). This will direct the visitor to our registration process.  Access is granted for 24 hours, and this access will only be granted seven times in a 30-day period. Visitor access is restricted to Web, email, and secure shell (SSH).

4-Week Access

There is a second option for visitors who need access to UCInet beyond the restrictions of Express Registration.  Manual Registration is a process by which UCI faculty, staff, or graduate students can authorize access for a visitor.  The authorizer will need to use his or her own UCINetID and password, and will need the MAC address (the unique address of the network card) of the visitor’s laptop or other mobile device.  More information on these two options can be found at the UCInet Mobile Access Registration page.

Longer-Term Access

Another option is available for guests whose visit to UCI will be longer than a month.  (Examples include visiting scholars, volunteer faculty/staff, or those who may be employees of a different UC campus but are teaching here.)  In these cases a faculty or management-level staff member may request a Sponsored UCInetID for the visitor.  This is essentially a normal UCInetID, but it is only valid for as long as the sponsor authorizes it — typically one to four quarters.  Note that the Sponsored UCInetID request form is now online and requires the sponsor to log in with his or her own UCInetID and password.

Eduroam

Visitors from participating educational institutions may choose to gain access to UCInet using their home-campus network identities via the Eduroam secure federated network access service.  For eligible visitors, this option may be a better choice given the requirements and restrictions of the alternatives listed above.

Wireless Network Update

UCInet Mobile Access

UCInet Mobile Access

NACS has recently completed an upgrade to UCI’s wireless network.

We have now retired all the old Lucent 802.11b wireless access points (APs).  These APs were about 9 years old and were only able to support the original wireless networking (“wi-fi”) standard, with comparatively low speeds.  Each of them has been replaced with a new Cisco 802.11a/b/g access point, meaning it can support three current wi-fi standards, and you can now connect at the fastest transfer speed of which your mobile device is capable.

In addition to faster speeds, the new APs support the Cisco Wireless Internet Service Module (WISM) standard, with all its advantages.  Not only are these APs dynamically configured from a central control system, allowing maximum signal strength and throughput as demand shifts, they allow “seamless roaming” so that you can move within the range of all the Cisco APs without dropping your connection.

A final advantage to the Cisco APs is that they all support Express Registration, which means you don’t have to pre-authorize your mobile device, nor do you have to arrange in advance for access for your guests.  Originally limited to a few sites on campus, Express Registration is now widely available.  A list of locations where Express Registration is available, along with additional information about the service, is maintained online.  NACS expects to add more Cisco WISM APs over time, subject to available funding.

Improving Wireless Connectivity

UCInet Mobile Access

UCInet Mobile Access

UCInet Mobile Access, UCI’s wireless network, comprises more than 800 access points (APs).  An “access point” is a network device which your computer connects to using wireless Ethernet.  The access point then forwards your network traffic to the wired network, in this case UCInet.

Express Registration

Express Registration allows a UCI affiliate to connect to the wireless network with a UCInetID and password, no longer requiring advance registration of the wireless card’s MAC address (that’s the 12-digit code arranged as six pairs separated by colons). Visitor Express Registration allows visitors to the campus to gain temporary access to the network without arranging for a sponsor.

WISM

NACS has recently deployed a new wireless technology (Cisco’s Wireless Internet Service Module — “WISM”) which enables a variety of new services.  WISM technology improves the performance of the wireless network by:

  • automatically and dynamically allocating bandwidth as needed
  • using dynamic channel reassignment to reduce channel conflicts and interference from competing APs
  • dynamically adjusting the wireless transmission power output of the APs
  • allowing “seamless roaming” between APs.

WISM also provides NACS with better tools to manage, monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize the wireless network, and makes Express Registration possible.

These new features are only available in certain campus buildings where WISM has been deployed, including Bren Hall, the Student Center, and the Libraries. NACS continues to deploy the WISM technology in more locations on campus and, subject to available funding, will eventually deploy WISM technology in all campus wireless network locations.