NC State Wireless FAQ


What areas of the university currently have wireless service?

There are a lot of areas covered by the wireless network. Most academic buildings and Residence Halls along with many outdoor areas have wireless coverage.

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I am having trouble connecting. Where can I get help?

You can call the University Help Desk at 515-HELP (4357). If you are a student, you can take your device to the Walk-In Center. If you are faculty or staff, please contact your LAN Administrator.

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Who can use the NCSU wireless network?

Anyone with a valid Unity ID and password can use the NCSU wireless network. See the For Guests section of Wireless Network Access.

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How do I connect to NCSU’s wireless network?

Your wireless-capable device should see the “ncsu” wireless network ssid if you are in a covered area. Simply select the “ncsu” ssid from the list then open a Web browser to authenticate with your Unity ID and password. Once authenticated, you can surf the Web, check your email and access University services.

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How do I connect to NCSU’s wireless network if my device doesn’t have a browser for me to authenticate with?

You can use the Nomad Registration tool to register your devices even if they do not have a web browser. If your device does not have a web browser, you may edit the MAC address field in the “Add Device” section.

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What rules are there for using the NCSU wireless network?

Running remote services (e.g., Web server, ftp server, nfs server, any person-to-person file-sharing services) is prohibited. All traffic to and from the Nomad System is logged and associated with the user, as permitted by REG 08.00.02 – Computer Use Regulation.

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Is the NCSU wireless network secure?

Wireless network users are responsible for the security of the data transmissions they send over the wireless network, as the transmissions are not encrypted or secure at this time. Users are strongly encouraged to use secure application-level protocols when sensitive information traverses the wireless network; otherwise, they should move to the wired network. Examples of secure application-level protocols are https, ssh, scp and vpn.

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How do I log out of the Nomad system?

Users will be automatically logged out if they are network idle for 2 hours or off the network for 10 minutes.

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What is a wireless hotspot?

A single access point (AP) covering a room or area is considered a hotspot. Coverage is guaranteed only for that particular area only. A hotspot can be requested by filling out an order in the PCR360 work order system.

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If my department buys a hotspot from ComTech, can we take it us if we move?

No. Once a hotspot is installed it becomes part of the building infrastructure, therefore making it unavailable to move.

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What is the difference between 802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11N, and 802.11AC?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) certified a new standard, 802.11g, by merging two incompatible wireless networking standards 802.11b (goes far but not fast) and 802.11a (goes fast but not far). The new “g” standard has a 150-foot range, and the top speed is 54 Mbps (as opposed to 11 Mbps that we had with the “b” standard).

Among its key innovations, 802.11n adds technology called multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO), a signal processing and smart antenna technique for transmitting multiple data streams through multiple antennas.  This results in up to five times the performance and up to twice the range compared to the earlier 802.11g standard.

All of the wireless access points on our campus are now compliant with the “n” standard so that you can take advantage of the faster connections. The good news is that 802.11n is backward-compatible with 802.11b/g. This means that if you have a “b” or “g” card you do not have to purchase a new wireless card if you are satisfied with your connection speed.

The next generation of wireless is 802.11ac. When deployed, it can theoretically give three times the speed of 802.11n.  The increase in speeds will be very beneficial for applications such as streaming video.

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Can departments install APs and connect them to the campus network?

Yes, as long as they do not interfere with existing campus wireless coverage. They must also follow all the rules for deploying private wireless networks on campus as defined by ComTech and OIT. See Rules for Implementing Wireless Networks at NC State.