Wireless Internet Frequently Asked Questions

University students, faculty and staff are not permitted to install their own network extension equipment. Departments wishing to extend their network connectivity or implement wireless networking should contact the IT Service Desk for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I set up my own wireless network?

No. IT is responsibile for, and maintains, the wireless infrustucture on all campuses. Any unauthorized wireless routers will interfere with the wireless equipment IT has installed. Students and employees are always encouraged to connect to the "foxwifi" wireless network when a choice is available. The "foxwifi" wireless network is more secure and provides a potentially faster service that the "foxguest" wireless network.

2. What is the wireless network?

The wireless network is an extension of the wired network infrastructure, which allows for increased mobility and flexibility for campus network users. The GFU wireless network is built on 802.11 network hardware that is WiFi certified. We have deployed 4 types of wireless networks; 802.11a/b/g/n. 

3. What hardware is needed?

In order to use the wireless network, a laptop computer or PDA device is needed with an 802.11a/b/g/n compatible wireless network card. All CAC computers since Fall 2003 have come equipped with built in wireless cards.

4. What operating systems are compatible?

Computer operating systems that have drivers written for them have the capability of using the wireless network on campus. Supported operating systems include: Windows 98, ME, NT 4, 2000, and XP, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Windows XP or Mac OS X are preferred for their relative ease of connecting. Older operating systems may present more hurdles during the connection process.

5. Which areas of campus are covered?

There are many areas on the GFU campuses that currently offer wireless network coverage including Portland and Newberg. For specific information, view our wireless map.

6. What do I need to get online?

You'll need the correct hardware with updates from installed (Windows XP SP3 required) and a university login name and password. The detailed information can be found on the Wifi page.

7. How fast is the wireless network?

As of Summer 2009, we will be deploying 802.11n access points across most of the academic areas. These will support up to 300 Megabits/second. We also deploy 802.11a/g access points. These support up to 54 Megabits/second data rates with a compatible network card.We also deploy a few 802.11b access points that support data rates up to 11 Megabits/second. However, it is a shared medium (radio waves), and as there are many variables in radio coverage and actual throughput (connection speed). 

8. What is the range of a wireless device?

The range of a wireless device depends on many factors: radio interference (or "noise"), distance from an access point, connection speed, and physical interference. Indoors, the range of a wireless network card is between 50 and 200 feet. Outdoors (line of sight), the range can be up to 1000 feet.

9. What is an SSID?

SSID stands for Service Set Identity/Identifier. It is a string of characters that represents which wireless network a user is attached to. This is also called the "Network Name" by some vendors.

10. Which SSID should I use?

Your wireless card should be configured according to the information found on the Wifi page. 

11. What is WEP?

WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. This form of wireless encrption is old and insecure for use in today's technology-savy world.

12. Do we use WEP?

Starting with the summer of 2009, George Fox campuses implement WPA2 AES encryption for the foxwifi wireless signal. The Newberg and Portland centers also utilize 802.1x authentication in addition to WPA2 for robust WiFi security and protection of user information.

13. What about security?

Wireless network security is a serious issue. Wireless is not only a shared medium, but also a medium that is broadcast via radio waves. Therefore, the data is inherently insecure. In order to protect data, please ensure it is encrypted or protected via a VPN (virtual private network) tunnel connection. Employees that require wireless network connections into the campus network can find VPN software and configuration help by contacting the IT Service Desk.

14. Can I set up a wireless AP (Access Point) in my residence?

It is against IT policy to have non-IT configured wireless access point devices for several reasons:

  • Many wireless access points are set by default to act as gateways, working as DHCP servers. These devices are not capable of serving hundreds of users, and when they are added to the existing network, they interrupt basic network services for all users on that network.
  • Frequency management: The 2.4 GHz band is limited to 11 usable channels, only 3 of which do not interfere.
    • Without centralized coordination of which of the 3 channels are used in which areas, the network is not usable by any wireless network clients at functional speeds.

    Please contact the IT Service Desk to have one's own personal wireless device setup in your residence.

    Issues of security and privacy eclipse bandwidth issues, as anyone within range of the access point can collect traffic. IT will be enforcing the residential network policy with wireless discovery equipment and requiring that anyone with a wireless access point discontinue its use immediately. Operating an access point is in violation of the network policy, and any network port that is found to have an access point attached will be shut down.

    Getting Help
    Contact the IT Service Desk.

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