ETSU provides enterprise-level wireless network access throughout the ETSU campus, including most campus buildings and residence halls. ETSU's wireless network (Wi-Fi) consists of hundreds of access points (APs) which allow wireless devices like laptops and smart phones to connect to the network.
One of the biggest challenges we face in providing campus-wide Wi-Fi is handling interference from unauthorized APs (rogues) which use the same radio frequencies as ETSU's Wi-Fi. Unauthorized or rogue APs create personal separate networks that compete with ETSU's Wi-Fi and introduce interference which greatly degrades the Wi-Fi experience for all users in the area. In some cases, rogues prevent users from connecting to the ETSU network all together.
To limit interference and to provide the required level of security, ETSU's Wireless Policy stipulates, among other things, that unauthorized APs are not allowed.
The most common examples of rogues are routers and printers that also provide wireless connectivity. The wireless functionality of a printer can be disabled, at which point it is no longer considered a rogue. The printer could then be directly connected to a PC or MAC through a USB port or similar wired connection. If multiple devices will need to connect to the network, a network switch, sometimes referred to as an Ethernet switch, could be utilized to allow printing, gaming, streaming video and so forth. Game consoles, TVs and other streaming media boxes aren't able to connect to ETSU's wireless network, so those devices must use a wired network connection.
Many newer devices like the iPad do not have a built-in Ethernet jack and thus can only communicate wirelessly. Unfortunately, use of a personal wireless router or printer creates a problem in residence halls where separate wireless networks are not allowed because of the interference they introduce. A Wi-Fi printer for the iPad would have to be turned off after every use to prevent causing Wi-Fi interference and adversely affecting neighbors.
As Wi-Fi technology matures, additional frequencies and methods may become available that reduce wireless interference. For now, users who live in close proximity to others need to be considerate of their neighbors by following the policy.