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Wireless Networking

  

Purpose:

To guide the deployment of wireless networking technology on the St. John's campus and to ensure fully interoperable, reliable, and secure wireless network services and to arbitrate possible radio spectrum interference.

 

Scope:

Applies to all uses of wireless technologies by faculty, staff and students in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio frequency spectrums on or near the St. John's campus of Memorial University, both inside buildings and in outdoor areas

 

Definitions:

802.11a - An IEEE wireless network standard that increases the bandwidth to 54 Mbps, but decreases the range of the signal to about 35 feet indoors. It operates in the 5 GHz Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) frequency range.


802.11b - An IEEE standard for wireless data networking rated at 11 Megabits per second throughput operating in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz Industrial/Scientific/Medical (ISM) band and using Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) technology to transmit the signal. The range of the signal indoors is up to 150 feet at 11 Mbps (300 feet diameter), or 800 feet outdoors. The range and strength of the signal are reduced significantly as it passes through walls, floors, and other physical structures.

802.11g - An IEEE standard for wireless data networking rated at 54 Megabits per second throughput operating in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz Industrial/Scientific/Medical (ISM) band and using Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) technology to transmit the signal. The range of the signal indoors is up to 150 feet at 54 Mbps (300 feet diameter), or 800 feet outdoors. The range and strength of the signal are reduced significantly as it passes through walls, floors, and other physical structures.

802.11i - An IEEE wireless standard that provides improved encryption for networks using 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. The 802.11i standard requires new encryption key protocols, known as Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Other features of 802.11i are key caching, which facilitates fast reconnection to the server for users who have temporarily gone offline, and pre-authentication, which allows fast roaming.

Access Point - A hardware device that serves as communications "hub" for wireless clients and provides a connection to the wired LAN.

Bluetooth - An IEEE wireless networking standard (802.15.2) operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency band designed for lower power and shorter range (less than 30 feet), hence its label as a "personal area network" wireless technology (WPAN). Bluetooth is designed to replace cables that connect devices, such as a PDA to a desktop computer, rather than functioning as an extension to a wired network like 802.11 wireless networks. Bluetooth uses a spread spectrum, frequency hopping, full-duplex signal at up to 1600 hops/sec.

IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This organization contributes important data network standards. See http://www.ieee.org/index.html.

Wireless PC Card - Hardware device in a client that communicates with an Access Point via radio signals (i.e., without wires).

WLAN - "Wireless Local Area Network". The term often used for a wireless network consisting of one or more wireless Access Points that provide network connectivity to computers equipped with a wireless capability. In essence, a WLAN provides the functionality of a wired LAN without the physical constraints of the wire

WPA - Wi-fi Protected Access. A robust data encryption method for 802.11 wireless LANs.


Spanning Tree - a protocol that facilitates auto configuration of links across multiple switches. Its benefit is that a network will repair itself if a link breaks. Incompatible implementations of spanning tree can (and do) destroy networks. Spanning tree is normally implemented only in switches, and hubs (access points).

VLAN - Virtual Local Area Network - a protocol that allows the separation of broadcast domains. In the case of Memorial this allows the creation of Departmental LANS. The "trunking" of VLANs allows pieces of a VLAN to be distributed over multiple switches. Because of software limitations VLANs cannot currently span the north/south campus boundary.

DHCP - Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol - a protocol that supports the auto configuration of IP addresses, subnet masks, gateways, etc.

 

Policy:

Deans, directors, and department heads are responsible to ensure compliance with this policy and related procedures. This responsibility may be delegated to employees who seek to acquire, install, operate, and maintain systems and devices working in the aforementioned spectrum.

With the ratification of the IEEE 802.11g standard for wireless networking and the subsequent proliferation of interoperable, affordable products that support that standard, Wireless Local Area Networking technology (WLAN) has established itself as an important complement to the traditional wired data network.

While the 802.11g standard does allow a wireless PC card from one vendor to connect to an Access Point from another vendor, the devices must all be carefully configured to support interoperability, and to achieve reliable and secure operations. Consequently, a Memorial wireless network standard and central management of the campus "air space" are necessary to protect valuable information resources and to ensure the highest degree of interoperability.

Compliance with the following specifications is required:

1. Technology
All Access Points must be compatible with existing MUNet technology. In addition to 802.11x standards compliance and enhanced security, this specifically includes a compatibility requirement for spanning tree, Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) trunking, and network management capabilities.

MUN WLAN PC cards must support 802.11i.

Only the IP protocol is supported on the Memorial WLAN.

2. Installation and Management
Memorial University's Department of Computing & Communications (C&C) is the sole provider of design, specification, installation, operation, maintenance, and management services for all wireless Access Points connected to MUNet. WLAN access points owned by other Memorial units, or any individual faculty, staff, or student, are not permitted because of security and demonstrated interference issues.

The network service demarcation point is the Access Point itself. C&C's Communications Group is responsible for the Access Point and the wired network to which it is attached. Departments and individual students, faculty, and staff are responsible for all costs associated with purchase, installation, operation, and support of wireless PC cards in client computers.

All IP addresses for the Memorial wireless network are assigned by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service maintained by C&C.

Servers may not be connected to Memorial's wireless network.

Installation must comply with all health, safety, building, and fire codes.

3. Security/Access
The campus WLAN uses WPA Enterprise for security.

A C&C wireless account is required to use the Memorial WLAN.

All users of the Memorial wireless network must register the MAC address of their wireless PC card with C&C before access will be granted.

4. Radio Signal Interference
802.11g WLANs operate in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz range and conform to the IEEE 802.11 DSSS specification. Other wireless devices use the same 2.4 GHz frequency band and may disrupt the operation of the Memorial wireless network. These include cordless phones, microwave ovens, cameras, Bluetooth devices (such as keyboards, mice and audio speakers), and other wireless LAN devices in the 2.4 GHz range (including 802.11b). If interference occurs between other devices and the wireless network, the wireless network has priority. In cases of significant problems, users are required to cease using those devices. It is recommended that, when practical, devices operating at other frequencies (e.g., 900 MHz) be purchased to avoid this possibility. In cases of significant problems, users are required to cease using those devices. It is recommended that, when practical, devices operating at other frequencies (e.g., 900 MHz) be purchased to avoid this possibility.

In cases where the interfering device is being used for a specific teaching, research, or administrative application, C&C will work with the client to mitigate the interference and accommodate the device without disrupting the Memorial wireless network. In the event interference cannot be satisfactorily resolved, the WLAN technology has priority.

 

Procedures

Title: Wireless Networking
Category : Operations Approval Date:
Effective Date : 0000-00-00 Review Date: 2017-05-01
Authority:
Vice-President (Administration & Finance) through the Director of Computing and Communications
Sponsor:
Vice-President (Administration & Finance)
Contact:

Department of Computing and Communications (709) 864-8116

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