Wireless Routers in UW Residence Hall Rooms

Network Connections You Have

As a residence hall member, you currently have:

  • Fast, reliable connectivity to the campus network and the Internet via data ports (10/100Mb Ethernet) in your room
  • UW wireless service in many common areas in UW residence halls
  • Pervasive UW wireless service in some UW residence halls

Do-It-Yourself Wireless Responsibilities and Policies

In UW residence halls where wireless network service is provided by the UW

Setting up personal wireless routers is prohibited in these buildings and your network outlet will be disabled if they are discovered. You should see a wireless network named "University of Washington" available for your use. If you are unsure if service is available in your residence hall, check with your resident adviser.

In other residence halls

You have the option of installing your own wireless network and connecting it to the data port in your room.

Be aware of the following before you decide to install your own wireless access point (WAP):

  • You must provide your own technical support for installation, configuration, and ongoing maintenance of your equipment.
  • You must comply with the network security policies of the University of Washington. (This means you are responsible for managing the security and activity of all computing devices on your wireless network.)

If you are willing to assume the above responsibilities for your own wireless network, please review the policies and specifically note that:

  • Providing an open network connection that could be publicly accessed is prohibited.
  • You must insure that your wireless network meets the security requirements outlined on the Web page above.

Configuring Your Wireless Router

The back of a typical wireless router is shown below:
router1

The WAN port (often colored yellow) is the one you should connect to the provided network outlet. If you connect the wall port to one of the other ports it may interfere with network use by others nearby and the wall port will be disabled.

The wireless router creates a local area network (LAN) and handles traffic going between the residence hall networks and the LAN.

  1. StepsActions
  2. Connect the cable from your computer to one of the LAN ports on the wireless router.
  3. Using the computer's browser, go to the configuration menu for your router (see the router's instructions).
    • Use minimum power to reduce interference with other devices.

      In a residence hall, a wireless router that provides wider coverage (because of protocol or antenna choices) may experience decreased performance due to interference with other wireless routers.

    • Have a unique SSID.

      The name of your local network (the SSID) must be unique to avoid conflict with other networks. In order to insure uniqueness between your network and other resident hall networks, consider using your name (or nickname) plus your room number.

      • This step is very important for preventing conflict between your wireless router and others nearby!
    • Use encryption that will require a password to connect.

      Use WPA or, if WPA is not available, use WEP.

    • Use hardware (MAC) address registration.

      Rather than leave your wireless router open for anyone to access, explicitly allow your devices by entering their hardware addresses in the router's access configuration. Hardware addresses are also called MAC (Media Access Control) addresses. Check your user manual for each device for how to find its MAC address.

      • Using the hardware address method is important as it restricts use of your wireless router to specific computers you know about. Without such explicit protection, someone you do not know could access and use your wireless router. If their computer is infected and tries to send spam or malware through the connection, all use of your data port could be blocked.
    • Turn on the router's firewall, if one is available.

  4. Connect to the wall data port via the WAN or UPLINK port on your wireless router (normally the yellow port).

Register Your Devices

When finished configuring your router, the next step is registration. For the simple configuration, you will be registering the wireless router, associating it with the owner's UW NetID. For the more complicated configuration, the owner of each device connecting to the residence halls networks through the wireless router will be registering each of their devices separately.

  1. StepsActions
  2. Establish a Wi-Fi connection through your wireless router by selecting it from your device's Wi-Fi configuration menu.
  3. Using your browser, enter a URL to some site external to the UW such as Google.com.
  4. You will be prompted to enter your UW NetID and password. Doing so will register the UW NetID as the owner of the device, as identified by its hardware address (MAC number).
    • Until this step is successfully done, anyone using the device will only be able to access on-campus sites.
  5. You can now use your device to access Internet sites on campus and beyond.

Last modified: November 10, 2014