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Q&A Regarding Wireless Access Points in the Dorms

posted Aug 29, 2012, 10:54 AM by psweeney@brenau.edu

Since Brenau does not provide wireless aceess in every dorm room (access points are placed in lounge areas of dorms only), we allow students to install wireless access points in their rooms.  However, wireless routers are the most common type of wireless device at stores which conflicts with our policy of banning routers.  The following Q&A addresses common questions students have regarding these policies.

Why do we not allow routers in the dorms?

The reasons that routers are not allowed are twofold. First, a router basically establishes an entirely new network behind our network. So - what happens is that once a student authenticates with Rapidconnect from behind their router - any users who connect to that access point later also appear that same person. This means you might be blamed for network activity committed by another student. Secondly, routers are complex devices and students frequently connect them to the network incorrectly. If it simply affected only themselves - this would be ok. However when a router is connected backwards it can disrupt the rest of the network by acting as a DHCP server and handing out IP addresses to other students. Of course - those IP addresses don't work so people naturally blame Brenau - when the problem is actually with a particular student's device.

Why are access points preferred?

They are simple devices that only connect to the network one way, do exactly what each student is trying to achieve, and don't create swarms of new networks all over the place. Also - there is no configuration needed: just take the access point out of the box, connect it to power and the wall jack, and you are done!

Why are wireless access points so hard to find?

Supply and demand. The average home user does need a router so it makes sense to sell both devices at once in a single device. However, in university environments this is not desirable - as stated above. However - due to the fact home users far outnumber university students (grin), they simply just don't have enough demand for them to have them in the stores.

So - how do I get a wireless access point if Best Buy, Walmart, and Office Depot don't carry them?

The good news is that wireless access points are still easily available online and at large technology stores such as Frys and MicroCenter. However - both of these stores are in the Duluth area so for Gainesville students it is probably best to just order one online. For convenience, I have linked to a few recommended models below:

http://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-54Mbps-Wireless-Access-TEW-430APB/dp/B000799LPE/ref=sr_1_22?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1345909550&sr=1-22&keywords=wireless+access+point 

http://www.buy.com/prod/trendnet-tew-430apb-54mbps-wireless-g-access-point/10392021.html 

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Intellinet+-+IEEE+802.11n+150+Mbps+Wireless+Access+Point/3999878.p?id=1218446804267&skuId=3999878&st=wireless%20access%20point&cp=1&lp=6

Please let us know at helpdesk@brenau.edu if you have further questions or concerns.