Issue #14– October 16, 2009
Important Information About Wireless Routers
RIT’s wireless implementation, completed in August 2009, is one of the largest wireless deployments in North America. RIT has more than 3400 state of the art wireless access points covering the interior of all academic buildings, residence halls, Colony Manor, Perkins Green, Racquet Club and University Commons apartments. Riverknoll is not connected to the RIT network and is serviced by Road Runner. There are plans to deploy the wireless solution to the new Global Village Complex. The RIT Inn was not part of the original wireless project and is currently being evaluated for possible future wireless internet infrastructure. This new network supports wireless protocols up to and including 802.11N. Wireless should not be considered a replacement for wired network connections. ITS expect that wired connections will continue to offer speeds that are one to two orders of magnitude faster than wireless connections. That speed advantage of wired networks can be critical to some applications.
Given the current wireless internet infrastructure, personal wireless routers are now prohibited. This excludes the RIT Inn and Conference Center as well as Riverknoll apartments as RIT wireless is not currently provided in those locations. Wired routers are still allowed, as are wireless routers that have the wireless radio disabled entirely.
Why are personal wireless routers no longer allowed in RIT Housing? There is a limited amount of wireless spectrum as defined by the FCC. This is to reduce wireless pollution and conserve wireless spectrum space for other uses such as television and radio.
From Wikipedia: Wi-Fi pollution, or an excessive number of access points in the area, especially on the same or neighboring channel, can prevent access and interfere with the use of other access points by others, caused by overlapping channels in the 802.11g/b spectrum, as well as with decreased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) between access points. This can be a problem in high-density areas, such as large apartment complexes or office buildings with many Wi-Fi access points. Additionally, other devices use the 2.4 GHz band: microwave ovens, security cameras, ZigBee devices, Bluetooth devices and (in some countries) Amateur radio, video senders, cordless phones and baby monitors, all of which can cause significant additional interference.
The access points installed by RIT communicate with each other through a central server so they actively avoid interfering with each other. This is required because there are 3,400 access points across campus. When other access points transmit at the same time, it disrupts the ability of the RIT access points to coordinate with each other and degrades network performance for every user in the area. The design and placement of the access points ensure seamless coverage across campus.
This information was reproduced from the following website: http://resnet.rit.edu
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