Northwestern University Policy on Wireless Networks

Helps to provide the highest quality of wireless network service and to ensure wired and wireless network security and integrity.

Audience:

All members of the Northwestern Community and users of the University network.

Policy Statement:

The purpose of this Policy is to provide the best possible quality of wireless network service, ensure wired and wireless network security and integrity, and minimize the interference between the campus wireless network and other products deployed throughout campus.

Installation, engineering, maintenance, and operation of wireless networks serving or on any property owned or tenanted by the University, are the sole responsibility of NUIT. Any independently installed wireless communications equipment is prohibited, subject to removal from service without notice, and possible confiscation.

The use of all campus wireless networks shall be subject to the University policies and guidelines on the Use of Computers, Systems, and Networks.

Background Issues:

In response to the increasing and widespread interest in wireless networking from individuals and departments, NUIT has developed wireless networking services that provide the same high level of management and reliability provided by the present campus wired network standards.

Wireless networks operate in both FCC licensed and FCC unlicensed, bands. Communications infrastructures of both types are prevalent on the Northwestern University campuses.

Many communications products, including wireless LANs, operate in the FCC unlicensed bands. Other types of equipment also use these bands, though not necessarily for communications purposes. With all these different pieces of equipment sharing these bands, it is not unusual for one piece of equipment to interfere with another. Such interference causes degraded service quality; therefore, it is important to effectively engineer, install, and manage wireless technology.

In addition to the potential interference problems, wireless networks are inherently less secure than wired networks. Only by proper implementation and operation can effective security be maintained. A network-wide approach must be taken to keep interference to a minimum, secure the campus wireless networks and insure the integrity of the campus computing systems connected to these networks.

For these reasons, individuals and departments should not independently deploy wireless networking products. NUIT will work with any University departments wishing to install wireless networking in their areas.

Last Review Date:

December 2013

Original Issue Date:

December 2002

Revision Dates:

July 2012
March 2006