The University provides extensive Wireless Networking coverage across all of its sites in support of the increasing adoption of laptop and other mobile systems by students and staff.
Wireless networking is not a replacement for the existing wired network, but is provided as an overlay network focused on the needs of mobile users who will have a diverse range of access devices (laptops, tablets, PDAs etc.). The nature of a wireless network, its limitations and inherent vulnerabilities, is such that the services provided can only be a subset of those available on the wired network; and is required to be provided in a different way.
The design objectives of the Wireless Network are that:
- It must be easy to use – no special client configuration or software installation
- Network access must be seamless - within the range of the wireless network users must be able to roam between wireless access points without loosing their network sessions
- A wide range of services must be provided to users of the wireless network and these services must be consistent regardless of location within the LJMU campus
- Access to the network must be limited to bona fide members of the LJMU community
- It must be possible to identify who is using the network as an aid to problem resolution and to comply with JANET regulations
- Users must be prevented from using excessive network bandwidth to detriment of other wireless users
- The security and reliability of the wired network must not be prejudiced by the operation of the wireless service
To meet these design objectives requires that the wireless network is centrally managed in same way as for the wired network, i.e. PLN have end-to-end control of the physical topology of the network, the interconnecting network equipment and the network-related services which together provide the overall wireless service.
The design of a wireless network, specifically the placement of wireless access points to maximise coverage and to minimise interference with other access points, must be planned at a campus-wide level and utilize “enterprise class” access points with appropriate management capabilities rather than ad hoc “consumer orientated” devices.
PLN have sole responsibility for the provision of wireless networking facilities across the University campus. The installation of wireless access points by local departments is expressly prohibited.
Note: This policy is included within the general Network Connection Policy, but has been separately defined for clarity and explicitness.
The intention of the University is that wireless access should be pervasive across the campus. Users who find an area where the level of wireless coverage is inadequate should advise PLN.
Kevin Walsh, PLN, September 2004