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.