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Connecting to Rutgers Wireless Network (LAWN)

by Hanz Makmur - LCSR Computing Facility - modified: Aug 3, 2001

Page Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Supported Platforms
  3. Availability (Service Area Coverage here at Rutgers)
  4. How can I connect to the DCS/LCSR Wireless Network?
  5. Wireless and Portable use policy
  6. Interference Issue

Introduction


As of Spring 2001, the LCSR Computing Research Facility has installed wireless access points to cover offices occupied by the Computer Science faculty/staff and Graduate Students in the Hill Center and CoRE Buildings. The wireless ethernet network was originally discussed during the LCSR User's Group meeting in October 2000.  The wireless network, called RU LAWN (Rutgers University Local Area Wireless Network), was installed to address the increasing demand from users who carry notebook computers and want to access the Internet. We chose a wireless network because it provides the flexibility of allowing users to move around while cutting down on network installation and management costs.

The whole system is based on a concept that wireless deployment and implementations must be simple and easy to use. The wireless network must be scalable, low cost, roamable, authentication oriented, and requires little administration. Unlike other implementations, with this system, we authenticate users and not hardware. As a result when users change hardware nothing needs to be done to allow users access to the wireless system. For more details on the concept behind it, see the white paper document.

Supported Platforms

Currently the Wireless Network works on the following platforms:
- Macintosh.
- PC running Windows or Linux.
 

Availability (Service Area Coverage here at Rutgers)


The Wireless Network service coverage area includes the Computer Science Faculty/Staff, Graduate Students offices and laboratories in the CoRE building (floors 1,2,3,4) and the Hill Center (floors 2,3,4). We have positioned the wireless access points such that every office and lab or hallway obtains at least a 10dB signal strength. This translates into 2Mbits per second or better (11Mbits per second, max) of shared bandwidth for all the covered locations. We will be increasing coverage as other departments join the LAWN System.

As of Oct 2001, preliminary implementation and evaluation have started at Camden Campus, Waksman Institute of Microbiology and Microcomputer Systems and Support Group. It is important to note that this LAWN system is NOT a Rutgers University Computing Services (RUCS) system. We've (LCSR/DCIS) developed this prototype and the system is now being considered by RUCS for deployment on a wider scale within RU in the future. We are expecting that RUCS at the New Brunswick Campus will add coverage to common areas such as student centers, libraries and classrooms. There are currently no known dates for these large scale deployments.

If your department would like to join the LAWN system, please email or visit Hanz Makmur in Room 211, Core Building, Busch Campus.  

How Can I connect to the Wireless Network known as LAWN?

  1. To connect to the LAWN, you have to be affiliated with Rutgers University and must at least have a computer account on RCI, ICI or any of the Computer Science Unix machine.
  2. You need to have a wireless card. Once you get one of the 802.11b compatible cards, you need to install it according to the instructions that come with the card.
    NOTE: Drivers/firmware that comes with your card is likely to be old Please check to see if there is newer driver/firmware for your card before installing the card.  
  3. Specify the network name or SSID to LAWN or ANY. (The default settings on most card is set to ANY).The procedure to configure the network name or SSID tp LAWN or ANY is manufacturer dependent, please read the instructions which came with the wireless card carefully. If the default settings for your card is ANY, you may go to the next step. We are recommending that you set it to LAWN to make sure that your computer don't wonder off to other access points that is not a member of LAWN network.
  4. When your computer is near LAWN access points, it will attach itself to LAWN network, you simply open your internet brower like Netscape or Internet Explorer. Your browser will automatically be directed to a login window..
  5. In the login window, Select your Status, enter your Username and Password and click Login.
    Once you are logged in, you are allowed full access to the Internet.

  6. Important: The firewall must hear a respond from your computer. If you have a software firewall installed, such as Zone Alarm or equivalent, make sure you set it to answer request from the fireeall or you will loose access within 10 minutes.

Before connecting, please read the Help file. It contains some frequenly asked questions. If you have problems, please visit our help system at http://please.rutgers.edu/help.

Wireless and Portable Computer use policy

  1. All DCIS offices and labs have wireless coverage
  2. Wireless clients must use 802.11b compatible wireless cards (see above).
    • a. DCIS will supply wireless cards for wireless clients purchased with DCIS funds
    • b. DCIS will NOT supply wireless cards for wireless clients purchased with research or personal funds.
  3. We recommend that all laptops have wireless cards. If a laptop is purchased with research funds, has an Ethernet card, and will be used from a single DCIS location it can be wired to a dedicated ethernet wall jack. If you would like this dedicated jack installed please contact terminals@cs. Someone will get back to you to determine where the jack should be located and the "MAC address" of the machine that will be connected to this jack.
  4. Machines that are to be used from more than one location must be connected wirelessly.
  5. Machines purchased with personal funds can only be connected wirelessly.

Interference Issues

Because the wireless transmission is done via radio waves, the wireless network is subject to interference. Known cause of interference that can disable your wireless cards are 2.4GHz appliances such as Cordless telephone, Microwave Oven, 2.4GHz Wireless Audio/Video Sender or other radio devices. Because we use all the available frequency in the 2.4GHz spectrum for wireless networking, you are strongly discouraged to use any 2.4GHz cordless phones or appliances at Rutgers University. For home users, the interference can be avoided by choosing a different frequency for your access point.