Wireless Networking (W@SP)

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Wireless at SUNY Potsdam (W@SP) is a standard 802.11b/g implementation of wireless. Look for the W@SP wireless hotspot logo in areas that support the service.

This service is the standard wireless access in academic buildings. RoadRunner WiFi is the standard wireless service for Residence Halls & Townhouses.

FAQ's

What is Wireless?
Where is it available?
What can I do while on the wireless network?
What do I need? What is supported?
How do I get connected?
What if my operating system is not supported?
Is this secure?
Airspace Policy
What is the SSID or network name?
What channel should I be on?
What frequency?
What "mode" should I be in? Infrastructure mode or Ad hoc or...?
How do I deal with signal problems?
I don't have a browser. How can I register?
I'm a guest on campus or am sponsoring a guest/group, can I use W@SP?
I have further questions or something that isn't addressed in this FAQ

What is Wireless?
A wireless network is nothing more than data communication over radio frequencies. There are numerous wireless access points (WAPs) located strategically around campus, each connected to the "wired" network and sending out radio waves to wireless adapters in laptops and other devices. The 802.11b standard means that the radio waves are transmitted at 2.4GHz, and that data is transmitted at 11Mbps. 802.11g devices also transmit at 2.4 GHz, though data moves at 54 Mbps.

Where is it available?
Check the WAP Map to find the current list of wireless access points around the college campus. The map will be kept up-to-date as W@SP expands to other areas. Wireless networks are NOT a replacement for wired networks given their bandwidth limitations. As such, there are no plans to blanket the entire campus with wireless coverage. However, wireless will be available in places that "make sense" (study areas, conference rooms, common areas, etc.).

What can I do while on the wireless network?
When connected to W@SP, you have the same level of access to campus and Internet services as you would if logged into the wired network. This includes access to e-mail, network storage, the web, instant messaging, etc. As always, you are bound by the Acceptable Use Policy.

What do I need? What is supported?
You will need a laptop capable of 802.11 networking (currently 802.11b or 802.11g)

Hardware and OS Requirements:

  • PC laptop running Windows Vista, Windows XP or Windows 2000
  • Macintosh laptop running OSX 

NOTE: Other hardware/OS combinations (Linux, Windows 98, Mac OS9, handheld computers) may work, though they are not currently supported by CTS.

If your laptop did not come with wireless built-in, you will need to purchase an 802.11b or 802.11g PCMCIA wireless networking adapter (802.11g will step down to the slower b speed). The prices for these adapters vary from under $100 to over $200. There are several 802.11 type adapters and the College Store may have some for sale. Handheld computers and PDAs may or may not have wireless capability.

How do I get connected?
Getting connected is very straightforward with standards-based equipment. To connect to W@SP, you must:

  1. Setup your computer for wireless access. With modern operating systems, if your computer came with wireless built-in or you installed a wireless PCMCIA card, your computer is probably all set to work with W@SP. If you have trouble, or need OS-specific help, refer to the links at the right of this page. For best results, we recommend that you be within range of an access point when attempting to setup your computer.
  2. Be within range of a Wireless Access Point (WAP). Software that came with your card should show you your signal strength. Once you are within range and have a decent signal, you will see that the wireless network "W@SP" is available. W@SP is the SUNY Potsdam Admin SSID and RRWIFI is Time Warner/Road Runner's SSID for the Residence Halls.
  3. Open a web browser and register for access. If this is your first time on SUNY Potsdam's Wireless Network, you will need to register for access. Simply open your web browser to be presented with the registration page. (NOTE: if the registration page does not appear automatically on your device, try going to http://viper.potsdam.edu) Register using your Campus Computer Account and minutes later you will be online. You will only need to do this once as long as you are in the database, however CTS may purge the database periodically.

If this is your first time on SUNY Potsdam's Wireless Network, you will need to register for access. Simply open your web browser to be presented with the registration page. Register using your Campus Computer Account and minutes later you will be online. You will only need to do this once as long as you are in the database, however the database periodically is reset.

What if my operating system is not supported?
CTS cannot support every variation of computer and OS. If your OS is not supported, or you need more info, please check further in the FAQ which contains a lot of information pertinent to our wireless environment. For information about your specific device or operating system, you will have to refer to other sources of documentation including user manuals, the Web, etc.

Is this secure?
Security is of higher concern on a wireless network because data traffic is passing over radio waves. This means it is more susceptible to eavesdropping. For this reason, CTS encourages all users of the wireless network to set up a PPTP connection to our VPN server. Please visit the VPN site for more details.

Airspace Policy
In order for SUNY Potsdam's wireless network to operate at the highest level, management of the campus airspace is a necessity. As such, CTS has an Airspace Policy in effect to help manage interference problems from other wireless devices.

What is the SSID or network name?
The SSID is W@SP. This is also known as the network name.

What channel should I be on?
Our WAPs are not on any specific channel. For 802.11b, channels range from 1 - 11. A correctly functioning client should be able to detect what channel a given access point is on. Unfortunately we cannot give you an answer. The WAPs auto-manage what channel they are on and routinely switch channels in response to outside interference. This outside interference can even be another nearby WAP, and both WAPs may switch channels so as not to interfere with one another. A given WAP can be on any given channel in the spectrum.

What frequency?
This corresponds to the channel you are on. For 802.11b channel 1 is at 2.412 GHz, up to channel 11 at 2.462 GHz, at .005 GHz increments. Again, any WAP can be on any channel/frequency.

What "mode" should I be in? Infrastructure mode or Ad hoc or...?
Different vendors call these modes different things, but you SHOULD be in something like "Infrastructure", "BSS", or "ESS" mode to work with W@SP. You SHOULD NOT be in any mode sounding even remotely similar to "Ad hoc", "Peer-to-Peer", or "IBSS".

How do I deal with signal problems?
There may be interference from people or devices in the area. Try moving to a different spot. When verifying your connection for the first time, move as close to the wireless access point as possible to be sure that you are within range.

I don't have a browser. How can I register?
A device with a browser is a requirement for the W@SP registration system.

I'm a guest on campus or am sponsoring a guest/group, can I use W@SP?
Please visit our Wireless Guest Access Policy.

I have further questions or something that isn't addressed in this FAQ
If you have questions or problems, and have exhausted the resources on these pages, see below to determine which area you are in and what support options you should try:

Our academic buildings are covered by access points and a registration system controlled by Computing & Technology Services (W@SP). Please contact the CTS Helpdesk at x2083 or email helpdesk@potsdam.edu for assistance in these locations.

Our residence halls, including town houses, are covered by access points and a registration system by Time Warner's Road Runner WiFi. For assistance in these locations, please call 1-866-339-8225 and you will need our support ID for assistance, it is: 56-010332.