Tired of Slow Wi-Fi in the Dorms? You Can Help!

Posted October 30, 2017 by Academic and Institutional Technology
Tags: Network

Tired of Slow Wi-Fi in the Dorms? You Can Help!

When you’re working hard to finish an assignment or paper, nothing is more frustrating than unreliable Wi-Fi. Why does Wheaton College’s Wi-Fi sometimes feel unreliable when you’re working from your dorm room or apartment? AIT has investigated these reported problems and discovered that the interference is being caused by unauthorized wireless devices that students have set up.

The Wheaton College network is an Enterprise Network that is designed to provide reliable and secure connection for our entire community. An Enterprise Network can experience difficulty when devices designed for home use are improperly connected to the College’s network. As a result, AIT has developed a chart to help you better understand what devices should or should not be connected to our network, and how authorized devices can be connected without causing inference.

Here is a list of devices that students frequently attempt to connect to our network. The list includes notes regarding steps to take to ensure that your devices are not creating network difficulty for your fellow students.

DeviceAllowed at Wheaton CollegeNotes
Wireless Routers No This includes a wide range of devices, commonly made by Cisco-Linksys, D-Link, Belkin, Netgear, etc. Any device that broadcasts a wireless network that you can see with your laptop or mobile device is absolutely banned because it will cause interference with our network.
Cellphone or Mobile Hotspots No The ability to share your cellular data plan with your laptop or other devices will work great for you, but cause immediate interference for others. We’ve seen cases where one hotspot blocks the entire wireless network for all users in a classroom or floor. The use of this technology is absolutely banned.
Wireless Printers Yes By default, most wireless printers are set up to broadcast their own wireless network called Wi-Fi Direct, which is similar to a router and is not allowed. Your best option is to use a USB connection with your device to eliminate interference and to ensure that others can’t print to your printer. If your printer has Ethernet, then that’s a viable solution as well. Finally, if you must use wireless, connect your printer to WC-Manual. 
Apple Time Capsule or Airport Yes The Time Capsule uses the Airport wireless router technology to communicate with devices. By default, this device will interfere with our network, however, you may disable the wireless interface and use it by plugging devices directly into the Time Capsule. We also recommend disabling DHCP or NAT on the device so that your devices will be connected directly to our network.
Apple TV Yes This device can be set up to work with our network. We recommend that you set a passcode for the interface so that access to it will be limited to the owner. We also recommend that you name the device after your location, so that it will be easier to find among the list of all Apple TVs on campus.
Google Home & Chromecast Yes This device will work with our network, but will need to connect to WC-Manual.
Roku Yes Only the Roku 3 is known to cause problems with our network because the remote control uses Wi-Fi to communicate with the media player directly. Roku provides a remote-control app for mobile devices. This service will not work on our network because it’s designed for small networks, although it may work in the future.
VoIP Phones Yes This is unknown at this time, but these devices should work successfully without network.
Sony PlayStation 3 & 4 (PS4) Yes These devices work fine, however, one setting must be disabled to prevent it from broadcasting a wireless network.
Amazon Fire TV & Echo Yes This device works fine with our network. Be aware that you may have to call Amazon to figure out the MAC address, which you will need to register with AIT for network access.
Sonos No These devices are designed to use a technology called Spanning Tree, which we explicitly block on campus. As a result, it will never work and is really designed for home networks.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Academic and Institutional Technology by email or by phone at 630.752.4357 (HELP).