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Hornet Wireless FAQ

ere you can find answers to questions we frequently receive about the Hornet Wireless System:

What's all this about wireless security?
Is Hornet Wireless Reliable?
Why can't I register for classess, etc. from Hornet Wirless?
What's up with the SecureW2 client -- are you spying on me?
Where is wireless available on campus?

What's all this about wireless security?
The first thing anyone should know before accessing any wireless network is this: there is no such thing as a secure wireless network.  By
their very nature, consumer wireless technologies are not secure -- let's face it, your data is flying through the air and can be received by ANYone with a compatible device, even over great distances!

Of course, encryption plays a major role in protecting your data.  But all built-in encryption methods to date have been cracked and are almost worthless to any would-be hacker.  Certificate-based encryption schemes (such as the TTLS method eomployed at SPSU) are the best means currently available for protecting wireless networks, but they are not infallible.  Given enough time and data, there are systems out there than can break even these technologies.

The SPSU IT Division takes your security very seriously, and although wireless is inherently vulnerable, we take every precaution to make the Hornet Wireless system as secure as any wireless network can be.

Is Hornet Wireless Reliable?
Many of the issues that create security problems for wireless networks also create reliability problems for wireless communications.  Many other objects in our universe create radio interference in the same spectrum as 802.11 B/G wireless.  And while csomic rays aren't generally a chronic problem, other items such as cordless phones, microwave ovens, Bluetooth, and of course, other wireless networking equipment can and frequently do cause major interruptions in consumer wireless prodcuts.

We take reliability just as seriously as we do security, but there's no stopping the laws of physics: if there's a wireless "interferer" in your vicinity, then you will experience interruptions.  When we discover interference problems we do our best to track them down and eliminate them, but that can be a difficult task.  For these reasons, we recoomend that users view the Hornet Wireless network as a research and convenience tool -- NOT as a mission-critical classroom technology!

Why can't I register for classess, etc. from Hornet Wirless?
First, read
the previous sections on wireless networks, security and reliability.  Given the inherent weaknesses in wireless communications, we feel that it is safest toprovide access to most network resources, but not those that could have serious implications for our users from a security and/or reliability standpoint.

By the same token, we recommend that users NEVER use any wireless network to perform online banking functions, make purchases, send or receive sensitive personal data, etc.  It's just not worth the risks!

What's up with the SecureW2 client -- are you spying on me?
!  Primarily, the SecureW2 client is used to provide secure, encrypted communications for MS Windows machines on the Hornet Wilress network.  The login process also help us ensure that only valid SPSU users access our network resources.  Also, logging into the network allows IT staff to physically locate users in case their machines are causing a problem on the wireless network.  For example, if someone's personal laptop is spreading a virus or their wireless radio malfunctions and causes interference, etc., we can find them and help fix the problem.

Where is wireless available on campus?

The Hornet Wireless network is available in nearly every building on campus where business is conducted.  It is not available in student housing areas at this time.  We are adding more access points on a regular basis.  Click here for an up-to-date map of hotspots.

Southern Polytechnic
State University

1100 South Marietta

Marietta, GA


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