CITES | University of Illinois

Getting Started with UIUCnet Wireless

This page explains the steps needed to make a successful first connection to the UIUCnet Wireless network, available in many areas of the Urbana-Champaign campus.

UIUCnet Wireless is designed to allow users to connect to the main UIUCnet network and the Internet from any location where wireless access points have been installed.

NOTE: IllinoisNet Wireless' WPA2 protocol provides both security and authentication without VPN, and it is available in numerous locations across campus. IllinoisNet is the recommended first-choice for wireless access for all registered student, faculty, or staff members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. If you have a University NetID & Active Directory password or guest credentials, you should use IllinoisNet Wireless for wireless access on campus.

In order to connect using UIUCnet Wireless, you'll need three things:

Campus identity

You'll use your Network ID (or a valid guest account) when you log in to UIUCnet Wireless.

(If you don't have a NetID or guest account, some locations provide UI Public Wireless for University visitors in addition to UIUCnet Wireless for University members and guest account holders.)

Compatible wireless device

You need a wireless device that is compatible with either the 802.11b, 802.11a, or 802.11g wireless networking standards. (802.11n is also supported in some areas.)

CITES recommends that you purchase wireless devices that are Wi-Fi Alliance Certified to provide maximum compatibility with our Wi-Fi Alliance Certified wireless network equipment.

802.11b coverage is available in most wireless areas, with the higher-speed options available in some locations as well. Bluetooth and other wireless standards are not supported on UIUCnet Wireless.

Location with signal

You need to be in a location with a UIUCnet Wireless network signal.

The Wireless Locations page lists campus buildings that provide both IllinoisNet and UIUCnet Wireless coverage. However, the easiest way to tell if you have coverage is to look at the list of wireless signals your computer detects.

Campus wireless networks

If you see IllinoisNet and UIUCnet in your wireless network list, you're in a covered area.

Note: If your laptop or PDA doesn't automatically locate UIUCnet Wireless in a wireless-enabled location, see Connecting Your Wireless Device to UIUCnet Wireless for some tips.

If your laptop has connected to a different network but UIUCnet Wireless is also available, see Changing Which Wireless Network You Use.

Logging in

Once you've detected the UIUCnet Wireless network, you'll need to log in through either QuickConnect and a web browser or a VPN client. (You'll use either your Network ID or a guest account as your username.)

UIUCnet QuickConnect: Online in 30 seconds or less

The fastest and easiest way for campus users to connect to the UIUCnet Wireless network is to open a web browser, enter (or another http:// web address), and use the UIUCnet QuickConnect login for access to a specific set of common network capabilities such as web browsing, secure email, and secure file transfer.

The campus VPN server: Additional functionality

Since UIUCnet QuickConnect does not provide network traffic encryption or other security features, its use is restricted to web browsing and secure network transactions. (More details are available.) If you need more network access than QuickConnect provides, you'll need to install a VPN client in order to have a fuller range of network access.

IllinoisNet: WPA2-secured wireless networking

When you're looking for wireless network connections on the Urbana-Champaign campus, you may notice that your computer locates a wireless network called IllinoisNet in addition to one called UIUCnet.

The IllinoisNet secure wireless network is also a part of the UIUCnet Wireless service. However, the two networks offer different security types, configuration types, and support.

In exchange for requiring pre-configured authentication information on each computer, IllinoisNet provides VPN-like security at the same time as the wireless network connection is made. Once your WPA2-compatible device has been configured to connect to the IllinoisNet section of the wireless network, you'll be logged in automatically each time you visit an IllinoisNet-covered location, with no additional software or web connections required.

For more information, see the IllinoisNet pages.

After you've connected

After you've connected to UIUCnet Wireless through either the VPN or QuickConnect, you can stay connected for quite a while as long as the wireless signal holds steady and your device doesn't decide to hibernate. However, you can't stay connected more than 24 hours; you'll need to log out and log back in again before then.

If you're using QuickConnect and want to disconnect, you can close your browser and the pop-up window and your session will time out within an hour (and probably sooner).

If you're using the VPN, you use the VPN client to disconnect in the same way that you connected. (A "Disconnect" button is provided in the Windows and Macintosh interfaces, and the Linux/Unix client uses the command line.)

If you're using the IllinoisNet secure wireless network, you can choose a different wireless network from the list of available options and connect to that network instead.

Shutting down your computer will also disconnect you from the network. Hibernation has the same effect, which is why computers that hibernate or that turn off their network cards for power savings won't be able to stay connected as long as others.

For more information, see the VPN and Wireless FAQs.


Last updated Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 5:07 pm