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In the past, WiFi/WLAN Access has been cumbersome and error-prone.

This service will be improved on Friday August 24, 2007, ready before o-week:

  • Connecting to the wireless network will no longer require a "secret" key.
  • According to our university's new name the wireless network will be called "JACOBS".
  • It will advertise itself: no more "searching for wireless networks".
  • To enhance stability and manageability, WiFi/WLAN Access will require login of Jacobs University's members with CampusNet username/password, either
    • via web browser (easier to use), or
    • via VPN access (more secure).
  • Guests and conference attendants can get WiFi/WLAN Access with temporary accounts provided by their hosts, via IT Support.

Using a web browser without login to the network will automatically show a login page.

The legacy "IUB-Bremen" network will cease to exist on that day.

21 Comments

  1. This is definitely great news! Hopefully the wireless will be expanded soon too, if possible (smile)

    However, I have one question to the temporary accounts - would it be possible to set-up a permanent "guest" account with limited privileges? Like HTTP access to public university resources, .edu domain / other university resources? Similar system was introduced at the University of Geneve and the guest account saved IT hurdle for creating every guest an account / sometimes the hosts are too busy / don't know the policies and guests will be without internet (sad)

    Or maybe it would be possible to set-up self-registration of guests for limited account by LDAP users? E.g. LDAP user is able to create short-time (3h?) guest account taking responsibility of the action of the guest?

    Just a few thoughts that could possibly make our lives easier (smile)

    Best regards,

    Marek Laska

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback! Self-registration is an interesting option. We'll setup the "basic" system and collect experience, then we'll see which additional features should be implemented. Maybe it is also possible in the future to delegate account creation.

    2. Perhaps at CERN, which is also in Geneva, you could use the network ONLY after you are registered at the organization, and you also register your computer to the network (this was done due to security reasons). There were also some CERN's computers, but you could use them only after you got a computer account, which you could obtain only after registering to CERN.

      The positive things about CERN IT infrastructure: we had wireless practically EVERYWHERE, and the speed was awesome.

  2. Wouldn't it actually make it harder to have access this way than to have it via wep or some other pass phrase? One didn't have to bother about entering anything in once it was setup. If there was a signal, and you had the connection set up, you'd be online automatically. Now, if I understand it correctly, one cannot check e-mail or do anything before actually starting up a browser and logging in. If that's the case, it would make life harder for sure. Sometimes you just have a minute and want to check your e-mail. It may take as long to have access to the network, than to check your e-mail. VPN is also not an option for me as it creates more problems (for me at least) than it solves.

    1. "once it was setup" is the issue (smile)

      The session idle time will be lavish for Jacobs accounts, hence logging in will usually be necessary only once per day.

      (thumbs up) Some systems will even be available without login: the email servers and teamwork.

      1. Everything is very nice, but will that web page keep appearing every time I connect to the wireless, and then asking me to log in? I don't know what the idle time is, but yesterday I had to log in 2 times, several hours apart...
        I know it all required quite big efforts, and I really hope it will make access easier, but it will be quite annoying to those who are used to their system automatically switching to wireless without requiring anything from them.

        1. Session time is 24 hours: if you don't log out you shouldn't need to login again during a day.

          1. Does it also apply (I mean 24 hours) when I change my location? Yesterday it asked me twice (with difference of one hour) because once I were in the Krupp Common Room, and the other time I was in Quiet Study Area.

            I also would like some automation. Unfortunately VPN client cannot connect automatically everytime it is launched, and it asks me for password everytime I connect. It is annoying.

            Is it possible to just register laptop to the network (once in laptop's lifetime) with its network card physical address, and then every time I want to connect, the server can check whether the laptop is registered or not. The laptop's registration can be done using campusnet password.

            Perhaps, when there will be an improvement in the WLAN speed? Currently in Krupp the speed is at level of dial-up (5-10 kb/s)?

            1. If you roam between access points in a fully covered area like around the Campus Center, the connection survives.
              As the authentication is connection based, everytime you lose the link to an access point, the connection is broken. When you regain connection to an access point, your notebook will re-apply for an IP address, and as the lease time for an address is short, you most probably will get a different address assigned. For the authentication system this is a new connection and you will have to authenticate again.

              The speed of a connection is depends heavily on the distance to the access point and on the traffic, which is generated by other users on the same access point. Putting out more access points is a question of money - not only for the AP's, but also for the wiring, network and power.

  3. This new change is definitely an improvement, concerninng wireless access via Windows, but it being hard enough to use wireless under Linux (at least on older machines) anyway, now it is virtually impossible at least for me to make the wireless work with my Kubuntu (Ubuntu with KDE installed actually).

    I am running Ubuntu 2.6.20 with KDE 3.5 and for configuring the wireless I have tried both the default control center and a small program called kwifimanager. When I turn on the wireless adapter in covered area (the Mercator College Office, tried successfully using the wireless there with XP), kwifimanager finds an access points with very good signal, it shows that the network is ad-hoc, but when I open a browser, no login page comes up automatically. I have tried tweaking the configuration options in the control center, but the result was always the same for me.

    Any suggestions how to set up the wireless access (or maybe a FAQ/HOWTO here on teamwork?) for Ubuntu Linux are very welcome.

    1. Chances are, you are using someone else's WLAN.

      Go into the IRC public area and try there.

      Use NetVPN for easy access.

      1. I am sure that I am using the proper network, since kwifimanager finds exactly
        a network with SSID "JACOBS" and I connect to this one. However, no login page
        comes up.

        I have the vpnclient for Linux installed; is it possible to connect through it,
        once I am connected to an access point?

    2. With debian, Ubuntu and openSUSE Linux - maybe all others too, but I do not know them - please use the network-manager. There are frontends for Gnome as well as for KDE for easily managing all network settings.
      Here is a german blog entry http://schimana.net/2006/07/31/network-manager-wlan-mit-wep-wpa-und-wpa2-unter-ubuntu-im-griff/ with screenshots.

  4. In Krupp College - Quiet Study Area (3rd floor, next to the office)- a WEP key is still implemented. As a consequence I always have to manually switch security settings in Windows Vista after I typed in the passwort and then, at any time later on, want to access the same SSID 'Jacobs' at some other AP, I have to change the settings to 'no security' otherwise Windows tells me that I can't connect.
    Therefore I have following question: Could someone please remove the Passwort in In Krupp College - Quiet Study Area.

    Thx

    1. Thank you for pointing us to this mis-configuration, that setting slipped out during the reconfiguring on Aug 24th.
      The Krupp College access point is now without WEP key.

  5. Related to this news, I found out that MacBook Airport has an integrated VPN client for wireless connections. Can you please give information how to configure it with Jacobs Uni. settings?

    1. Mac OS' VPN implementation is not able to connect to our VPN concentrator.

      1. What is the reason to that? Is there any hope that this problem will be corrected? It is really annoying to run the VPN client and enter the password several times per hour (not only due to connection lost, but it also disconnects when my apple goes standby). It is already hard to speak about password protection when I have to enter password several time per hour in the classroom. What frightens me is that the same password is used for the forums and campusweb.

  6. So, basically, we will always have to log in at least 5 times a day...It is a bit frustrating, since that (log-in requirement) also happens when the connection gets lost. I really don't understand why...

    1. We will work in December on the issue of re-authentication, hoping to get around that.

  7. i like the new system