This page answers frequently-asked questions that are specific to wireless technology in general and to IllinoisNet Wireless and UIUCnet Wireless in particular.
For frequently-asked questions about connecting to UIUCnet Wireless through QuickConnect or the campus VPN server, see the related FAQs, including the QuickConnect FAQ and Troubleshooting and the VPN FAQ.
In everyday use, conditions will rarely allow a user to reach the theoretical maximum speed advertised by network card makers. For more information, see Wireless Networking Speed: Ideals and Experiences.
Many modern wireless-capable devices will automatically detect and connect to the strongest wireless signal in an area. However, older devices may need to be told how to connect, and even with a new device, you may need to choose between two or more equally strong signals.
At a minimum, your device will need the name of the network and the source of its identity. In the case of UIUCnet Wireless, this means a network name of UIUCnet and identity management by DHCP.
For more information on what to do if your card hasn't automatically detected and connected to the network you want to use, see Connecting your Wireless Device to UIUCnet Wireless and Changing Which Wireless Network You Use.
One frequent cause of this problem is if your wireless network drivers are out of date. However, neither Microsoft nor your laptop's manufacturer are as likely to have up-to-date drivers as the manufacturer of the specific wireless network hardware inside your computer.
Another frequent cause is using a third-party wireless network manager rather than the built-in Windows Zero Configuration Wireless system.
The CITES Help Desk can help you locate the latest drivers and install them. They can also help diagnose any further wireless connection issues that may exist after updating your drivers.
Some additional suggestions are included in the troubleshooting section below.
To be compatible with the IllinoisNet Wireless and UIUCnet Wireless networks, your wireless card must use the 802.11g wireless standard. If your wireless card also supports 802.11a, 802.11g, or 802.11n (5GHz), you may have faster wireless access in some areas of campus.
IllinoisNet Wireless also uses the WPA2 encryption standard to provide authentication and additional security. UIUCnet Wireless requires adding either the VPN (for both authentication and security) or QuickConnect (for authentication alone).
CITES strongly urges that your card be Wi-Fi certified in order to guarantee that the manufacturer is following the 802.11 series standards closely.
At this time, 802.11a, b, and g are supported in all areas of the IllinoisNet Wireless/UIUCnet Wireless network. 802.11n (5GHz) is supported in some areas, but not yet in all areas. Bluetooth and other wireless networking standards are not supported.
You can also use UIUCnet Wireless without using the VPN software by using UIUCnet QuickConnect. QuickConnect is a simple browser-based way to authenticate yourself and access many of the most commonly used networking resources, including email and the Web.
However, if you use unencrypted software with QuickConnect and choose to communicate sensitive data such as passwords, this information can be taken from the air by anyone else on UIUCnet Wireless.
Since IllinoisNet Wireless provides both authentication and security, neither the VPN nor QuickConnect are required with IllinoisNet Wireless.
For more information, see VPN for Wireless Users.
Since IllinoisNet Wireless and the campus VPN provide equivalent levels of access, you don't need to add the campus VPN to an IllinoisNet Wireless connection.
Some departments may run their own additional VPN systems. Check with your department's IT professionals to see whether your department runs a VPN and whether you can access it through IllinoisNet Wireless.
If you are a University student, faculty, or staff member, you should use your NetID as your user name and your Active Directory password for your password.
Your Active Directory password is the same one you use for Illinois Compass, and may also be the one you use for campus email and other CITES services. (Or, if you've forgotten your Active Directory password, you can reset it with the help of your NetID password at the CITES Password Manager.)
If you are a guest, you can ask for a temporary guest account which will allow you to connect to the campus network in many of the same ways that a campus user with a Network ID can.
Inbound connections to the wireless network are blocked at the University firewall. If you need to run a server, you should locate it on a wired connection.
There are at least three possible reasons for this.
- You are sharing the speed of the wireless access point with all the other people who are using the same access point. Therefore, you may have less bandwidth available to you personally on the wireless network than your desktop computer will have in its fixed location.
- Depending on the strength of the signal you are receiving from an access point, you may have as little as 1 Mbps of bandwidth available to your wireless device.
- Data encryption and decryption requires computational time from the processor. Thus, the VPN may slow the system somewhat, particularly if your machine is older.
More information is given in the Wireless Networking Speed: Ideals and Experiences page.
Talk to your network administrator. Your network administrator will need to talk to the Network Design Office at CITES.
The Locations page lists buildings that provide UIUCnet Wireless access. This list will continue to grow as more areas complete the paperwork and networking required to provide access points.
In addition, the Network Access Maps can be searched by building name, address, building nickname, or by clicking on highlighted buildings in a graphical map. The Network Access Maps include all CITES-provided forms of network access, including labs and walkup locations in addition to wireless access.
The following pages walk you through a detailed description of steps to take when troubleshooting an erratic or failed VPN connection and/or UIUCnet Wireless connection.
(Advanced users and IT pros, Windows, Mac, and Linux:) You have reason to believe your wireless drivers may need to be updated.
(Windows users only:) Your computer disconnects from the wireless network although it still claims to be connected with excellent signal strength, and any attempts to reconnect will cause networking problems that often require rebooting. (Intel 3945 WiFi driver problem)