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Introduction | Getting connected | Coverage | Provide feedback
The University of Essex now has a fairly extensive wireless network covering all three campuses and most of the academic buildings (the residences are not covered). This page gives information about the types of service available and the areas covered by the wireless signals.
Wireless networks, by their nature of operation are much slower, less reliable and far less secure than wired networks. For these reasons it is highly recommended that wired network access be used wherever possible. This wireless network is not provided as a substitute for wired connections in offices or residences. Wireless networking should only be used for short-term connections (conferences and the like, or for half an hour's work over lunch), or mobile working.
As the wireless network is rolled out over the campus, all other wireless devices will be disabled. If there are any special projects that need specialised wireless connectivity (e.g. a robotics lab), then please contact the Computing Service with details of the manufacturer and wired and wireless MAC addresses and SSID such that we can avoid blocking access to it, and avoid interference from it.
There are two services offered currently by the University of Essex which all members or guests may use; Eduroam and the full wireless service. There may be other wireless services (SSIDs) over parts of the campuses for research or administrative purposes. Unauthorised use of these other services will be considered a breach of University rules and regulations. There may, in certain selected areas, be publicly accessible wireless services (e.g. BT's OpenZone), which may be used appropriately.
Eduroam is a consortium of organisations set up to try and provide a unified method of connecting to the network without having to register PCs or users anywhere other than at their home institution. Eduroam is operated by a number of institutions, mostly European and Asian Universities, and is available to all members of participating organisations. Please see the Eduroam organisation, and the JANET roaming service for more information about Eduroam. Eduroam provides access to most common Internet services, so if browsing the web, and e-mail are all that you require, then connecting to the Eduroam service should suffice and is easier to set-up and use than the full wireless service.
See 'Configuring wireless devices for eduroam access at the University of Essex' for more details and setup instructions
Connecting to the full wireless service provides greater access to the University resources, but is more complicated to set-up and use.
See 'Full Wireless Network Service' for more details and setup instructions.
The network is predominantly an 11/54Mbps (IEEE 802.11b/g) network, with some provision of a 54Mbps (802.11a) network. Throughput enhancements (802.11n) (providing up to 300Mbps) have been applied to several of the 802.11a access points. Although there are several different speeds of wireless networking available, most devices are configured by default to connect to the highest speed network within range, and will automatically switch to the lower speed networks. For example, if you connect to the 300Mbps network in the Blues Café and then walk down the corridor to the far end of the 2001 building, then your PC will seamlessly switch to the 54Mbps and the 11/54Mbps networks.
As the 802.11n throughput enhancements cause some interference to non-802.11n users, and the existing inter-operability issues with the 802.11b and 802.11g networks the 802.11n enhancements have not been applied to the 802.11b/g network.
We will be gradually extending the coverage of the 802.11a/802.11n network over all sites over the coming years; the timescale is being dictated by financial constraints as the access points for the 802.11a/802.11n service are far more expensive.
It would be most useful if users of the wireless services could provide feedback to us about areas of the University where they wish to use the wireless services, but there is no, or poor, coverage. This feedback will allow us to provide extra services in these areas sooner rather than later.
The wireless network currently covers the following areas. Because of the nature of wireless networks, the coverage spreads out into the surrounding areas, most notably the public squares, and there may be some corners of rooms that have poor coverage.
The Amphitheatre (outside space) (b/g);
The Blues Café (a/b/g/n);
The Chemistry building (b/g);
The Computer Science building (a/b/g);
The Computing Service Help Desk (a/b/g/n);
The Constable Building (excluding the I-Lab area) (a/b/g);
The old Data Archive building (b/g);
The Fusion Restaurant (a/b/g/n);
Greenwood House (b/g);
The Happy Days Diner (a/b/g/n);
The HHS building (b/g);
The I-Lab and I-Lab break-out area (a/b/g/n);
The Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall: foyer, LHA, LHB and seminar room (a/b/g/n);
The John Tabor building floor 1 (b/g);
The Language and Linguistics building (b/g);
The (Albert Sloman) Library large reading room (a/b/g/n);
The (Albert Sloman) Library floor 1 - 5 (including the light-well area) (a/b/g/n);
The LTB foyer (a/b/g/n);
The Maths building (b/g);
The Multimedia Centre (a/b/g);
The Network Centre foyer (a/b/g/n);
The Network Centre (excluding the foyer) (b/g);
The Orangery (a/b/g/n).
The Physics building (b/g);
The Quays common room (protakabin) (b/g);
The Rab Butler building (b/g);
The Sociology building (b/g);
The Sports Centre (a/b/g/n);
The Square 1 building (except the Centre for Brain Studies, which has been specifically excluded as the Wireless signals can interfere with the research) (a/b/g/n);
The SSRC building (b/g);
The Teaching Centre (a/b/g/n);
The 2001 building (a/b/g/n);
The Valley (Portakabin) buildings (b/g);
Wivenhoe House Hotel (Note this does not provide the full wireless service, only EduRoam, but additionally provides hotel guest access) (a/b/g);
The Clifftown Studios (phase 1) (b/g);
The Clifftown Studios (phase 2) (a/b/g/n);
11 Elmer Approach (a/b/g);
All floors of the Gateway Building in areas that are used by the University of Essex, the Student's Union, or the business incubation (BIC) units (i.e. not the retail units) (a/b/g/n);
University Square common room (Note that this also provides StudentCom wireless networking) (a/b/g/n);
The Carpark Building (a/b/g);
Corbett Theatre (b/g);
Courtyard Studios (b/g);
The New Build (a/b/g/n);
Roding House (b/g);
Unit 4 (b/g).
|a||IEEE 802.11a network provision in this area;|
|b||IEEE 802.11b network provision in this area;|
|g||IEEE 802.11g network provision in this area;|
|n||IEEE 802.11n over 802.11a network provision in this area.|
University Square outside space.
In addition to the area(s) above, there is a major investment planned for the wireless system to provide comprehensive coverage over all three campuses. This should bring wireless networking to most of the areas that staff, students and guests use, with the exception of the accommodation. Note that the accommodation networking is provided by a separate company - CableCom (a.k.a. StudentCom), who will have their own agenda and methodology for providing wireless networking.