UCInet Mobile Access

The UCInet Mobile Access service is an extension of the campus network which supports wired and wireless portable computer network connections in numerous locations across the campus.

Around campus, particularly in classrooms and computer labs, open network jacks are managed through UCInet Mobile Access. Using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), network addresses are issued dynamically (on request). UCI campus users are required to register the networking device they will use before connecting to UCInet at a wired Mobile Access connection point as well as in any campus wireless access zone.

UCInet Mobile Access uses an authentication scheme based on Media Access Control (MAC) addresses. A MAC address is the hardware address of the Network Interface Card (NIC) of your computer. You need to have this number while registering for the UCInet Mobile Access network and campus-wide DHCP services. Help is available online.

NACS is currently focusing on common areas where people are likely to use wireless. New coverage areas are being added on a regular basis. NACS wants to know where you would use wireless networking.

UCInet’s wireless mobile access service uses the IEEE 802.11b (“Wi-Fi”) wireless networking standard and supports connections from network cards conforming to that standard. This is a shared network technology. Like all shared networks, these networks should be presumed insecure. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) may be used to create a secure connection from UCInet Mobile Access.

NACS provides other services to help our clients with their wireless network needs. These include: free consulting, needs assessment, site survey, design, cost estimation, installation, and maintenance, and opportunities for cost sharing of equipment.

For more information, please contact NACS at nacs@uci.edu.

For information on UCInet Mobile Access
http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile/

For the latest in wireless coverage 
http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile/locations.html

For email updates on wireless coverage 
https://maillists.uci.edu/mailman/listinfo/ucinet-wireless

For help registering your wireless network card 
http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile/registration.html

For more information on the VPN 
http://www.nacs.uci.edu/security/vpn.html

For free assistance with your local wireless equipment
http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile/consultation.html

Wireless Networking

One recent innovation in UCInet has been the initiation of a wireless computing infrastructure at UCI.

Based on the 802.11b standard, UCInet Mobile Access (http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile/) began with installations in Engineering Gateway, GSM, the Main Library, Gateway Study Center, and the Student Center. Since then, the Science Library, the Physical Sciences Nobel Courtyard, the Cal-IT2 suite on the 4th floor of Engineering Tower, and within the Administration building, Research & Graduate Studies and the conference room 107 have been added.

NACS has identified funds for expansion of UCInet Mobile Access, and schools have been asked where the next targets for coverage should be. We expect the wireless network to be of increasing importance to the campus. Installations are proceeding in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Biological Sciences, Engineering, College of Medicine, and the Beckman Center.

NACS recognizes some individuals and departments have installed their own wireless access points. NACS recommends checking with us before installing any new access points to insure proper configuration. For workgroups looking into adding wireless networking, NACS would prefer to install wireless in your area for you. If the workgroup covers initial hardware costs, NACS will install, manage, and monitor the equipment at no cost. Working together in this way, UCI will enjoy a uniform campuswide wireless network

UCI Mobile Access Update

  
UCInet Mobile Access

UCInet Mobile Access

Wireless networking is an exciting new technology, and NACS is helping introduce the campus to its benefits. NACS is conducting a pilot assessment of wireless networking and its effectiveness at the current state of this developing technology. The technology used is based on the 802.11b standard for 11MB wireless ethernet networking.

Four areas are currently covered by the UCI wireless network (called UCI Mobile Access): the UCI Student Center, the Main Library (and Gateway Study Center), Engineering Gateway (NACS public labs, and some third-floor Engineering rooms and labs), and the Graduate School of Management.

In the process, NACS has built a wireless backbone that will be able to support extension of the wireless network beyond the pilot sites. We’ve also gained sufficient experience that we no longer require the services of an outside consultant for radio frequency planning.

Other UC campuses have expressed interest in modeling their own wireless efforts on UCI’s example. The UCI Libraries have created a laptop lending program (laptops with wireless cards) so that students studying the the Main Library or Gateway Study Center can connect to the wireless network. Wireless Day (April 11) at the UCI Computer Store was also enthusiastically attended.

NACS is assessing functionality and popularity in hopes that further wireless sites can be justified. NACS is available for consulting with departments whose need for wireless technology is sufficiently urgent to invest departmental funds in extending the current wireless coverage. NACS is also examining the potential of this technology in nearby residential areas.

We expect that in developing this expertise, we can add value to any campus wireless activity. Since wireless networking is inseparable from certain security and shared-use considerations, we strongly recommend that all wireless activities be coordinated through NACS.

Up to date information on UCI Mobile Access can be found at http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile. NACS also hosts a wireless discussion Listserv mailing list. Send e-mail to listserv@uci.edu with the message “Subscribe ucinet-wireless Yourfirstname Yourlastname”.

Wireless Networking

What are WLANs?

WLAN (or WiLAN) is an acronym for Wireless LAN. A Wireless LAN is a local area network which enables a computer to act as if it is on the physical network yet have no network wires attached to it.

The topic is hot, because wireless network cards are becoming ever more affordable, and one type of wireless networking has achieved shared Ethernet speeds. This means that it is now conceptually possible for one to walk down the hall from one’s office to a conference room while carrying one’s laptop computer and remain online all the while.

What is the UC Irvine campus policy on wireless networking?

Campus policies for the existing campus data network apply to extensions of that network also, including wireless networks. NACS manages UCInet (the campus data network) on behalf of UCI, and is responsible for strategic planning, maintenance, and 24/7 operation of it. It is clear that wireless networking will have an impact on UCInet network planning and operations, and that NACS will need to provide guidelines regarding aspects of wireless networking not covered by the existing policies.

Wireless, however, adds a new level of complexity. WLANs create new security risks for all network users when placed in or near areas accessible to the public. Also, if departments deploy local Wireless solutions, there is the potential that “air space” conflicts may result in unintentional interference by one department in another department’s efforts. Local solutions might also prove incompatible with a campus-wide solution which was implemented at a later time.

To forestall problems that could be created by early adopters of this important and exciting new technology, NACS is coordinating with departments for whom implementing Wireless solutions is a priority.

NACS is working on a method of authenticating users centrally for public networks. In the meantime, NACS recommends use of the built-in MAC address authentication features of wireless access points. We also encourage departments to contact NACS (nacs@uci.edu or x6116) for help in understanding the issues.

A full discussion of this issue and UCI plans for deploying and supporting wireless technology can be found athttp://www.nacs.uci.edu/doc/wireless.html