Penn reconfigures its wireless settings




Information Systems and Computing has reconfigured Penn's wireless settings.

ISC has remodeled the available wireless networks on campus, consolidating older networks and creating new ones to provide better access and support.

Prior to this summer, AirPennNet, AirSAS, AirSEAS and Wireless-PennNet were all wireless networks available in specific areas around campus.

Now, AirSAS, AirSEAS and AirPennNet - the major networks for faculty and students - are consolidated.

ISC replaced Wireless-PennNet - which provided access to visitors - with a new network called AirPennNet-Guest.

Wireless-PennNet's older infrastructure was struggling to keep up with a growing number of users, ISC Associate Vice President Michael Palladino said.

Guests cannot log on to AirPennNet - the general campus wireless network - because it requires specialized configurations that take time and effort to apply.

AirPennNet-Guest allows guests - usually scholars or other officials visiting the University - to have wireless access for up to a week if they have a temporary PennKey provided by their hosts.

The access points for the guest network are enabled in public spaces.

Students can access the guest network, but it offers "limited connectivity," Palladino said. More resources were dedicated to Penn's regular wireless users, leaving less bandwidth room for guest users, he said.

Students say AirPennNet-Guest has provided some benefits.

"It's good because I get it on Locust Walk, so then I can work out there," College freshman Daniel Rockower said.

Students have also noticed changes in wireless access across campus, but say the guest network hasn't posed a problem.

"I always automatically log onto AirPennNet" College junior Sumeet Khetarpal said. "But I have noticed that I get more signal in Huntsman now."

Vice President of ISC Robin Beck said AirPennNet-Guest should not cause any access problems for AirPennNet users.

"The two systems use the same access points, but guests and students are accessing different components of that hardware," she said.

She added that any students who are struggling with wireless connectivity should let IT staff in the area know, so the problem can be fixed.

In the next year, ISC hopes to upgrade to even faster forms of wireless technology, Palladino said.

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