Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: What is a wireless connection and what are hotspots?
A: A wireless connection, also referred to as “Wi-Fi,” allows a computer or handheld device, equipped with a wireless network interface card or chip, to access the network as if it were connected to an Ethernet cable plugged into the wall. Hotspots (access points) act as central transmitters and receivers of wireless local area network (LAN) radio signals to and from the computer/device.
Q: Who can get a wireless connection on campus?
A: All students, faculty and staff with a myCSULA Identity account can access the campus wireless network.
Q: What kind of wireless access is possible?
A: Security of campus resources is a priority. The campus strongly recommends using an encrypted connection whenever possible. However, an unencrypted connection is available for computers that do not support Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption. Data transmitted “in the air” (i.e., to and from your computer and the access point) without encryption can be easily snooped and captured.
Q: What is WPA?
A: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is a wireless standard of data encryption that allows for authentication and is more powerful than the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security standard.
Q: Will hotspots be available 24/7?
Q: Will student fees be raised as a result of the wireless network?
Q: Where can I get information and updates about the wireless network?
Q: Do wireless frequencies pose health concerns?
A: The campus is not aware of any scientific consensus that low-power devices such as cell phones or laptops using wireless frequencies pose health risks to users. However, users should research this topic and make their own determination about the safety of using wireless devices.
Q: Will my iPhone be able to connect to the wireless network?
A: The iPhone is currently able to connected to the CSLA-UNENCRPTED network. The iPhone does not currently support enterprise WPA encryption.
Q: How do I log into the campus wireless network?
A: Follow these steps if you use Windows:
- Select Start > My Computer > My Network Places > View Network Connections.
- Click the wireless network connection icon, and then, in Network Tasks, click View available wireless networks.
Choose the wireless network from the list that appears (see figure below), and then click Connect. [See Technical Requirements and Standards to configure WPA.]
- Open your Internet browser and enter your campus network access account userID and password to authenticate.
Faculty and staff: Enter your domain\username in the Username field. The domain is the same one you use to access your e-mail account in Outlook.
- Click on the wireless icon in the task bar.
- Select either “CSLA-ENCRYPTED” or “CSLA-UNENCRYPTED.”
Open your Internet browser and enter your campus network access account userID and password to authenticate.
Q: How long will the connection and login process take?
A: It could take a few seconds up to two minutes depending on your machine and if it meets the minimum requirements.
Q: Will I be able to print to a network printer from the wireless connection?
A: Not at this time.
Q: How fast will my wireless connection be?
A: Connection speeds of up to 300 mb/s are available throughout most of the campus if the client is 802.11n compatible. Connection rates will vary with type (802.11b/g/n), signal strength, and amount of usage on a particular access point.
Q: What range do the hotspots have?
A: Approximately 300 feet. However, the farther away you are from the hotspot, the weaker the signal. Interferences, such as books, trees, walls, and people may degrade the strength of the signal.
Q: What is required for a wireless connection?
A: Your computer must have the following:
- Wireless adapter: 802.11 b or g standard protocol
- One of these operating systems:
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP with Service Pack (SP) 2 or higher
- Windows 2000 with SP 4 or higher
- Macintosh OS X
- Note: While other operating systems and devices may be able to connect - those listed above are supported by the ITS Help Desk.
In addition, use the following settings for Windows if you want an encrypted connection:
- WPA encryption enabled and properly configured (WPA2 is preferred). For Windows, include these settings:
- Network Authentication: WPA or WPA2 (enterprise)
- Data Encryption: TKIP or AES
- EAP Type: Protected EAP (PEAP)
- Authentication Method: Secured password (EAP-MSCHAPv2)
- Disable using Windows logon name and password for authentication
- Since configurations may vary depending on the wireless transceiver software and driver, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Q: Must cookies be enabled for login authentication?
Q: What is WPA encryption, and why do I need it?
A: To help protect you from identity theft and protect the campus network from unauthorized access, encryption prevents usernames, passwords, and data from being obtained “in the air” (i.e., to and from your computer and the access point) by intruders. WPA improves upon Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP, a weaker encryption standard).
Q: How can I determine if my wireless adapter is WPA-enabled?
A: Please refer to your computer manufacturer’s documentation.
Q: Is my computer protected from malicious software while using the Campus Wireless network?
A: The Campus Wireless network does not protect your machine from malicious software such as viruses, spyware, and cross-site scripting attacks. We strongly recommend that users maintain updated anti-virus software and safe computing practices.
Q: What security features are in place on the campus wireless network?
A: Each connection is protected by a “stateful” firewall. This is individual protection beyond the university firewall to help protect your computer from attacks.
According to Wikipedia, “In computing, a stateful firewall (any firewall that performs stateful packet inspection or stateful inspection) is a firewall that keeps track of the state of network connections (such as TCP streams) traveling across it. The firewall is programmed to distinguish legitimate packets for different types of connections. Only packets matching a known connection state will be allowed by the firewall; others will be rejected.”(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stateful_firewall 8/31/6)
Q: What security options should I set on my computer?
A: According to manufacturer’s instructions, configure security settings for optimum security. Some suggestions include:
- Enable a software firewall. [Note: Windows XP and Mac OS X.x both provide a built-in firewall.]
- Disable the guest account feature.
- Disable all auto-login and save password functions.
- Prevent user names from being displayed at log in (i.e., to prevent the last logged-in user name from being displayed after a person logs off or when a computer is restarted).
- Do not store passwords or PINS on the computer.
- Do not store confidential information on the computer.
- Disable the wireless adapter (i.e., card/chip) when you are offline.
Q: How do I disable the wireless card/chip on my PC?
A: The procedure for disabling a wireless card/chip depends on the manufacturer of the card/chip and/or computer. Follow the manufacturers’ directions.
Q: How is the campus dealing with rogue access points or ad hoc networks?
A: The campus monitors unauthorized wireless devices with sensors and systems to detect and classify them. The campus reserves the right to disable unauthorized access points (rogue access points). The campus also deploys sensors and systems to detect and disrupt the presence of unauthorized wireless devices forming a connection between the network and any wireless network, including laptops that are serving as a bridge between wired and the unauthorized wireless network(s).
Q: Are transmissions and traffic with a wireless connection encrypted?
A: If your wireless card/chip supports WPA encryption, and you choose an encrypted connection when you log into the network, your transmissions and traffic in the air (i.e., to and from your computer and the access point) are encrypted. For faculty and staff choosing an unencrypted connection, but who log into the network using the campus VPN, the transmissions and traffic is encrypted.
Q: What are the risks of using a campus wireless connection?
A: If you do not use WPA encryption, transmissions and traffic can be detected (sniffed) by an intruder while “in the air” (i.e., to and from your computer and the access point). However, even without WPA, the wireless authentication login page will be encrypted.
Even if you use WPA encryption or the campus VPN, always use caution when surfing or conducting financial transactions over the Internet. Look for signs that the website pages offering online purchases or asking for personal information are secure. At the point that you are providing user IDs, passwords, confidential and/or payment information, the beginning of the website address should be https://, indicating that the information is being encrypted. Your browser may also signal that the information is secure with a symbol, such as a broken key that becomes whole or a padlock that closes.
Users of wireless devices should use all available security features and tools at their disposal to prevent unauthorized use of their computers. Some best practices include:
- Employ a personal firewall on your laptop!
- Disable your wireless card/chip when offline.
- Do not store confidential data on your laptop/device. But, if you have to, make sure the data is encrypted.
- Do not enter personal information, user IDs, and passwords on the Internet unless the site is secure (https://).
- Never leave your laptop unattended, even for a few seconds. Never ask others, especially strangers, to watch your laptop for you.
- Prevent others from seeing your keyboard or screen if you are entering personal, confidential, or sensitive information.
- Be especially cautious in certain locations where theft might likely occur, such as areas where there are hotspots or busy places where thieves who are on the lookout for laptops easily blend into the crowd.
Learn more security tips on the campus Are You Secure? website at: http://www.calstatela.edu/itsecurity.
Q: What is the campus appropriate use policy for wireless communication and traffic?
A: All Acknowledgments of Confidentiality and Appropriate Use of Account statements previously signed by users apply to campus wireless connections. The laws, policies, and user guidelines that govern access to, and use of, the University’s networks, accounts, and data apply to wireless access to those resources. Unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted works, including music, pictures, movies, games, and other published materials is a violation of campus computer-use policy. It is also illegal and may carry significant monetary and/or criminal sanctions. It is the responsibility of students, faculty, staff, and guest users who download or upload files to ensure that they are not copyrighted works, or that permission of the copyright holder has been obtained. For more details, read User Guidelines for Wireless Access and User Guidelines for E-mail and Electronic Communications available online at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/itsecurity/guidelines.
Q: Do campus network traffic restrictions apply for wireless connections?
A: Yes. For specific details, read User Guidelines for Network Traffic Management available online at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/itsecurity/guidelines.
Q: Are my transmissions private?
A: You should have no expectation of privacy when you use any campus network or computing resource. Such use constitutes consent to monitoring, retrieval, and disclosure for any purpose, including criminal prosecution, of any information stored within the network and stored locally on a hard drive or other media in use with this system (e.g., floppy disks, PDAs and other hand-held peripherals, CD-ROMs, etc.). Using resources also means that you agree to abide by University policies and user guidelines regarding appropriate use and confidentiality. Learn more about privacy and monitoring in User Guidelines for E-mail and Electronic Communications, available online at: http://www.calstatela.edu/its/itsecurity/guidelines .
Q: What are wireless guest accounts, and who can sponsor them?
A: Wireless guests accounts are temporary accounts that enable a wireless connection to the Internet only. These accounts may be issued to campus guests for up to seven consecutive days. A guest is not a Cal State L.A. employee or student, but someone who is invited to this campus in a professional capacity. Guests might include faculty or staff from another campus, consultants, or event participants. A guest account must be sponsored, that is, formally requested at the level of associate dean, dean, director, or above. Self-supporting organizations, such as UAS, ASI, Student Union, Continuing Education, Reprographics, and the Campus Bookstore, must additionally have the fiscal officer’s approval to request guest accounts. Students may request guest accounts through ASI or a student organization or club. Faculty may request guest accounts through their associate dean. For more details, read User Guidelines for Wireless Access online at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/itsecurity/guidelines.
Q: What is the process for requesting guest accounts?
A: Sponsors must formally request guest accounts using the Wireless Guest Account Request form located at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/forms under the Network/E-mail topic. The sponsor or sponsor’s designee may submit the completed form to the ITS Help Desk (LIB PW Lobby) on or before the desired start date, and at least two hours before the account(s) are needed. Guest account information will be given to the sponsor or designee when the accounts are activated.
Q: Are there fees for wireless guest accounts?
A: Only self-supporting organizations will be charged a $10.00 daily fee for each requested guest account. A self-supporting organization is a revenue-generating entity that is not a state-funded institution or organization, but funded by grants, and/or charge fees to the University to operate. Examples include: UAS, ASI, Student Union, Continuing Education, Reprographics, and the Campus Bookstore.
Q: How many days may a guest account remain active?
A: Up to seven consecutive days, including weekends.
Q: Are guests expected to follow the campus appropriate use policy?
A: Absolutely. For more details, read User Guidelines for Wireless Access and User Guidelines for E-mail and Electronic Communication located online at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/itsecurity/guidelines.
Q: Where can I get updates, training materials, and technical support?
A: Check the website dedicated to the campus wireless services: http://www.calstatela.edu/wireless and stop by the ITS Help Desk located in the Library South.