ResNet Wireless FAQ

Is my wireless connection a replacement for wired (Ethernet) connections?

Wireless connectivity gives mobility and flexibility, however, it is not as robust or secure as a wired connection. Wireless technology is a shared technology. What that means is, everyone using the wireless connection in your building is competing for the same resource. The more users, the slower the response. It is also less secure and susceptible to many types of interference

It is strongly recommended that you do not use wireless networking (WiFi) when taking tests or when involved in critical applications.

What is the difference between the ResNet and ResNet-Alt wireless networks?

The ResNet network is the primary wireless connection for the residence halls and is a secure connection utilizing WPA2-Enterprise encryption. ResNet-Alt is the alternate, unsecured wireless connection for the residence halls and is for devices that do not support WPA2-Enterprise connections.

What frequencies does the NAU wireless connections use?

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

Which wireless standard is being used?

IEEE 802.11 a, g, and n. IEEE 802.11b was disabled in August 2013.

I have been told that a microwave oven or Xbox controller can interfere with the ResNet wireless network.

IEEE 802.11g wireless operates at 2.4 GHz
Microwave ovens operate at 2.45 GHz
Xbox controllers channel hop all over the 2.4 GHz signal spectrum

Our tests confirm that microwave ovens, Bluetooth and Xbox controllers do interfere with 802.11g ResNet wifi network. Although the frequency spectrum in which wifi networks operate is regulated by the FCC, they are not coordinated or licensed. As such, wifi networks are vulnerable to interference from other technologies and wireless devices using the same spectrum. This is of particular concern now that the wifi networks has become ubiquitous on campus. Most complaints are the result of multiple interference devices in your immediate area.

Why is wireless sometimes unreliable?

Wireless technologies are now widely deployed in corporate, campus and home environments. The human dependency on those technologies has increased to the point where one can find wireless devices almost everywhere, from network devices to laptops, smart phones, cameras, cordless phones, keyboards/mice, Bluetooth, Xbox controllers and so on.

In using wireless technologies, one must always keep in mind factors that impact your wireless transmission:

  1. Think of the wireless network like you do a cell phone. You put up with noisy or distorted conversations and dropped calls as a trade-off for convenience, flexibility, and mobility. You know the quality is not perfect, but you are willing to accept the limitations in exchange for mobility. With a cell phone you can hear when there are problems with the connection. With a wireless network you cannot hear connection problems, but you can experience them. In other words, sometimes it works well, sometimes it does not, and it does not work everywhere.
  2. In a campus environment, where there are literally hundreds of wireless "hot spots" and thousands of users, unidentified/unauthorized ("rogue") access points are both a security risk and point of interference. Ad hoc networking is another common practice that causes interference and connection problems for surrounding users. 

We notice that complaints regarding the ResNet wireless network are often the result of the following:

  1. Client Configuration -
    We find that the NAU ResNet network works best if you disable IPv6
  2. Extensive Interference -
    Interference can be caused by a number of factors outside anyone’s control. Microwave ovens, Xbox controllers, other wireless devices such as Bluetooth, wireless keyboards/mice, cordless phones that share the same frequencies, and personal wireless access points (i.e. wireless routers.) There is such a large concentration of wireless users on campus that interference is unavoidable, making wireless use very frustrating for some.
  3. Quantity and Quality of Associations -
    So many campus users are connecting to the wireless network. The quality of the signal you receive is dependent on how many users are connecting to any one access point and the distance you are from that access point. The quality is also dependent on what your “neighbor” is doing on the wireless. Are they simply browsing or checking email, or are they gaming, streaming a video, or downloading a large file? It is very difficult for any wireless network to cope with dozens of users using it for this kind of activity.

Is my wireless connection secure?

It is if you connect to the ResNet network. That network utilizes WPA2-Enterprise encryption and is recommend for laptop and desktop computers. After connecting, when prompted, simply enter in your NAU User ID and Password and accept the certificate to connect. The ResNet-Alt network is unsecured and is generally recommended for gaming consoles, mobile phones, blue-ray players, or any other device that requires a wireless internet connection (that doesn't support WPA2-Enterprise encryption).



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Related Services

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ResNet, or Residential Network, provides a high-speed Ethernet and wireless connections to every student living in the residence halls of Northern Arizona University.
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Information about the wireless system in the Residence Halls.

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Training & Documentation


Overview of wireless interference and their possible sources in the residence halls


If you are experiencing wireless problems in your dorm room, fill out a wireless problem report.


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