Using the wireless network on campus
Prefer the 5 GHz radio frequencies
Mobile devices can use several different technologies to make wireless network
connections. Most modern wireless adapters in both Macs and PCs can use several
different technologies, and they are supposed to choose the best one in any
given situation, but they often don't.
For classes, you want to use the 5 GHz radio band (actually it ranges from
5.725 GHz to 5.875 GHz), not the
2.4 GHz band (ranging from 2.4 to 2.5 GHz), if your laptop's wireless
adapter has that ability. If not,
the 2.4 GHz band will work, but the service level will be poorer.
(However, you can get a good signal at a greater distance from the access point
on the 2.4 GHz band.)
Here are some instructions on changing wireless modes on
internal wireless adapters for various laptops.
- Windows XP
- Go to Start → Control Panel → Network Connections. A list of
network connections appears.
- Right-click on Wireless network connection and
left-click on Properties.
- You should see a pop up window with your internal wireless adapter (if you
have one) listed at the top. Click on the Configure
button to the right of
the listed adapter.
- Another pop up window should appear. Click on the Advanced Tab at the top.
- In the scrollable text box labeled Property in
the center of the pop up
window, scroll down to Wireless Mode and click on
- A scroll box labeled Value then appears to the
right of the Property
scroll box. Scroll up in this box and click on 802.11a
only and click on it.
Then click the OK button at the bottom of this
- Windows Vista or later
- Go to the Control Panel (usually Start Menu → Control Panel, or Start
Menu → Settings → Control Panel). You can most likely type Control Panel in the search box as well to make it show
- Go to Network and Internet or, if using the
classic view, Network and Sharing Center (step 4) or
Network Connections (step 5) if it is available.
- If Network and Internet is shown, click on
Network and Sharing Center.
- On the menu to the left, click on Manage network
- Right-click on the wireless network connection, and select properties.
- In the wireless connection properties window that pops up, click on the
- Click on the Advanced tab on the adapter
- At the bottom of the list of properties on the left, there is the Wireless Mode property; select that. If there is a
Preferred Band property, select that one
- The drop-down menu on the right shows the available wireless modes.
- Select 802.11a to force the wireless adapter to
only use the 5 GHz band.
This selection resets the wireless connection.
Modes such as
a/b/g should, in theory, allow the use of the 5 GHz band, but
to enforce the mode, you can choose a only.
Even better: if there is a Prefer 5.2GHz band
option, select it.
These methods force the laptop to communicate with 5 GHz band only.
All access points on campus can communicate on the 5 GHz band.
you may want to switch back to using 802.11a and 802.11g or
a/b/g, which is probably the default mode for most newer wireless adapters.
- You can see what wireless frequencies your adapter supports
iw list | grep MHz. If you see, for instance,
5180 MHz, it can use the 5 GHz band.
If you have the Debian/Ubuntu wireless-tools package
can run iwconfig. If the output says
a wireless adapter has
802.11bgn, it does not have access to the
5 GHz radio band, but if it says 802.11abgn or
802.AC, it does.
If you are connected to an access point, and iwconfig shows that the
frequency is around
2.4 GHz, you are not connecting on the 5 GHz band.
- You might be able to specify a particular channel in the
5 GHz band:
sudo iwconfig wlan0 channel 36.
Reasonable channels include 36, 40, 44, and 48, and possibly 149, 153, 157,
161, and 165. You can see the channels that nearby access points are broadcasting
by sudo iwlist wlan0 scanning.
- iOS (iPhone, iPad)
- iOS generally joins the first known wireless network without asking you,
typically choosing the one with highest strength.
- Starting with iOS 11, the device prefers the 5 GHz band if it is
available and has adequate signal strength.
- Android generally joins the first known wireless network without asking
you, typically choosing the one with highest strength.
You can manually select a different network if you wish.
- If your Android device is capable of using the 5 GHz band, you can
specify that you want that band only:
Settings → Wi-Fi → ... → Advanced → Wi-Fi Frequency Band → 5GHz
but then you can't connect to the 2.4 GHz band.
- There are some apps that allow you to automatically switch to the
5 GHz band if it is available.
MacOS 10.6 and later
apparently connects to the strongest signal for any network you choose,
whether that signal is from the 5 GHz band or not, and there is no way to
override that choice.
Which network to connect to
Several networks are available:
The choice of network is independent of the choice of radio band.
Insecure networks allow others to read your
network traffic. It is therefore especially important to make sure you use
end-to-end encryption when sending personal information, such as your LinkBlue password.
If you make your connections with ssh or with a
browser to a site using SSL (the Secure Socket Layer, indicated by a URL
starting with https://), your conversation is
encrypted, so intruders cannot decipher your traffic.
Secure networks use encryption between your device and the
wireless access point, in addition to any end-to-end encryption your software
might use. Intruders cannot decipher any of your traffic, even ordinary browser
traffic. Still, it is best not to rely on that encryption; you should
habitually check for SSL before sending any sensitive information through a
browser or mail program.
ukhc-guest is an insecure network available only in UK
UK-Guest is a secure network.
Guests self-register their laptops, tablets,
and phones. They then have limited access to on-campus
resources. The registration is only valid for five days.
eduroam is a secure network. You should be able to
connect to it on almost any campus in over 70 countries. Follow the directions
at this site to learn about
connecting to eduroam. You might need to know some
or all of the following information.
If you have an account at a different university, you can try using your
identity there for the appropriate fields.
|Security||WPA & WPA2 enterprise|
|Authentication||Protected EAP (PEAP)|
|Certificate||none (leave blank, ignore warnings)|
|Inner (or Phase2) Authentication||MSCHAPv2|