Systems and Technologies

Connect to the RITWPA2 network with Mac OS X

RIT's Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA2) wireless network requires that you authenticate, or log in, to connect; it is not an open network. It provides a level of additional security through encryption - especially to allow you to safely login with your RIT computer account username and password - of your wireless network transmissions.

However, the encryption for subsequent network traffic should not be considered the primary feature of the WPA2 network. The primary feature of WPA2 is to prevent unauthorized use of RIT resources, through authentication, so that the people who need to use the network do so with a high quality of service and safety. You should still be cautious about transmitting personally-identifiable or RIT confidential information to Web sites and other systems that do not offer their own encryption, such as afforded by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) or other means. Both SSL and TLS, for example, are traditionally indicated as a lock icon in a Web browser window. If you currently use VPN to access campus resources when on the wireless network, please continue to do so with WPA.

As of this writing, the RITWPA2 network carries a specific name, "ritwpa2", to distinguish it from the conventional RIT wireless network. The network name is also known as an SSID.

Other than the login requirement and the addition of encryption, all other settings and specifications for the WPA2 network remain the same. You must still register your computer for the overall wireless network. The RITWPA2 network is available on all of RIT's campus wireless access points in academic buildings and common areas.

Only access points administrated by ITS should offer these network names on the RIT campus for security reasons. If you believe that you have identified a unofficial access point broadcasting these network names inappropriately, or you have questions if an area has coverage provided officially by ITS, please contact us.

At this time, RIT only supports the WPA2 standard.

Connect to the RITWPA2 network

The following instructions detail how to connect to RIT's Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA2) network. The WPA2 network requires that you log in for access, and provides some level of encryption to protect your network traffic.

Some notes:

  • The instructions below are designed for Mac OS X Leopard, but should be similar for other versions of Mac OS X, as well.
  • The WPA2 network requires a valid RIT computer account for login purposes.
  • The AirPort wireless adapter in your Mac must be registered on the RIT network either before or immediately following this process. Please register it at http://start.rit.edu.
  • You should not need to have an administrator-level account in Mac OS X to proceed. The WPA2 settings for RIT's wireless network are currently defined at the user level in Mac OS X.

To connect to the RITWPA2 network with Mac OS X:

  1. Click on the "AirPort" icon in the top menu bar.
    IConnectAirPortStatusRIT: IConnectAirPortStatusRIT
  2. Select "ritwpa2" from the list of options.
  3. At the prompt, enter your RIT username and password.
    IConnectNetSettingsWPA: IConnectNetSettingsWPA

When you have successfully authenticated with the RIT2WPA2 network, the status message in the main Internet Connect window will indicate that you are connected. You will also see the "ritwpa2" network name listed, with a checkmark next to the name, in the AirPort menu in your menu bar at the top of the screen.

If you have not registered your AirPort wireless card, you should open a Web browser and do so at the http://start.rit.edu Web site.

Section: Set up a Macintosh
Keywords: desktop computer, internet, laptop computer, mac os x, network, security, support policy, system administration, troubleshooting, wireless, world wide web
Question: How do I connect to the RIT Wi-Fi Protected Access network with Mac OS X?
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