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Wireless Policy

1 Purpose

Establish ground rules for wireless networking at BYU-Idaho.  The mission of BYU-Idaho can be furthered by the use of wireless networking.  The goal is to provide convenient, wide spread availability while maintaining security of the campus network systems and user community, prevent interference between overlapping wireless implementations and other uses of wireless spectrum, and to ensure a baseline level of connection quality of service is provided for the use community.  This document sets forth the policy for achieving security, avoiding interference, maintaining a level of quality, and defining responsibilities and support.   

 

2 Scope

This policy covers all wireless network communication devices (e.g., access points, laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs), etc.) connected to any BYU-Idaho network.  Wireless devices or networks without any connectivity to and which do not interfere with a BYU-Idaho network do not fall under the purview of this policy. 



3 Policy

 

General

1.    The wireless network is an entry point into the BYU-Idaho network that does not have the physical barriers of the wired network.  Wireless networks that connect to the BYU-Idaho network must be secure.  The need for security is further bolstered by introducing wireless devices onto the campus network that are not necessarily owned by BYU-Idaho.

2.    Wireless networks travel through the air and are subject to interference from other wireless networks and devices.  Wireless networks will be managed centrally to avoid interference.

3.    Wireless networks are not a substitute for wired network connections.  Wireless should be viewed as an augmentation to the wired network to extend the network for use in common and transient areas.  Although not as fast and reliable as wired, wireless has its own distinct advantages and a certain baseline level of connection quality can and should be maintained.

 

Security

1.    Users of campus network resources shall be authenticated.  Users of the wireless network must be identifiable, allowed access only if warranted, and held accountable for their actions.  Access will be limited to individuals authorized to use campus and Internet resources.

2.    Encryption will be supported on the wireless network.  Users should consider all unencrypted communications over the network as insecure and available to prying eyes as clear text.   Specific applications can improve security or make it worst, such as encrypting passwords or not.  It is users' responsibility to take steps to encrypt their wireless communications if they desire privacy.

3.    Wireless networking is most applicable for uses such as e-mail and web browsing.  Unless using encrypted protocols, wireless devices should not be used for connecting to campus business systems such as human resources, payroll, student information, financial information systems, or other systems that contain sensitive information critical to the mission of the University.

4.    Physical security of wireless access points will be maintained to protect the access point from theft or access to the data port.

5.    Clients of the wireless network must meet or abide by standards defined in Wireless Network Standards.

 

Interference

1.    Wireless networking equipment uses unlicensed frequency bands.  Overlapping frequencies, such as multiple access points in one area, can cause interference.  Other devices such as cordless telephones and microwaves can also create interference.  Access points and their placement will be managed to avoid interference.

2.    Wireless access points must meet all applicable rules of regulatory agencies, such as Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Suitability and Quality

1.    Wireless access points provide a shared bandwidth.  As the number of users increase the available bandwidth per user diminishes.  The ratio of users to access points must be monitored and adjusted to maintain reasonable connection quality.

2.    Wireless networks typically have less shared bandwidth than most individual wired connections. Wireless networks augment, but do not replace wired networks.

3.    Wireless is most appropriate for common areas where students, staff, and faculty gather.  Common areas most appropriate for wireless use include but are not limited to study areas, conference rooms, instructional labs, and public areas.

4.    New plans for buildings and gathering areas should consider the need for and use of wireless networking, similar to the planning done currently for wired networking.

 

Responsibilities

The Computer Technology Council (CTC) must approve all new wireless networks.  Their decision will be based upon criteria such as justification, budget, mission, risk, etc.

1.    Telecommunications will:

A.   Install and manage all wireless access points connected to the BYU-Idaho network.

B.   Maintain and update wireless network standards and guidelines.

C.   Resolve wireless network interference problems.

D.   Recommend wireless hardware and software used by the campus.

E.   Monitor use, performance, and security of wireless networks.

F.    Monitor developments in wireless technology and evaluate and incorporate enhancements as appropriate.

2.    Computer Support will embed images with wireless software as appropriate and applicable.

3.    Wireless users must follow the same acceptable use policies that are expected from users on the wired network.  Interference or disruption of other authorized communications or unauthorized interception of other traffic is unacceptable.  Unacceptable use may result in loss of privileges and/or other disciplinary action.

Support

1.    Employees who use wireless network are supported by their local Technology Support Specialist (TSS).

2.    Students who use wireless networks are supported by the University Help Desk.

3.    Telecommunications is responsible for supporting the wireless network infrastructure and providing support to TSSs and the University Help Desk.

 

Guests

1.    Departments that need to allow guests on the wireless network must have a sponsor log on to this site for guest accounts.  It make take up to 24 hours to grant access but it usually happens rather quickly. If emergencies call the University Help Desk @ x 9000 and they can help you. 

2.    Guests must be identifiable through authentication before they are allowed on the wireless network.

3.    Guests will be supported by the department that worked out the arrangement for guest accounts.

Related References

1.    Wireless Network Standards

2.    Wireless Network Guidelines

3.    Academic Network Policy

4.    Acceptable Use Policy

 

Enforcement

Students, employees, and guests found to have violated this policy may lose their network privileges and may be subject to disciplinary action and/or prosecution for breaking the law.

 

Definitions

 

Terms Definitions
Access Point A radio device that acts as a gateway between the wired network and wireless clients.  Similar to a "hub," the access point is a common connection point for devices in a wireless network.
Bandwidth The speed of a network connection commonly reported in Kilobits per second (Kbps) or Megabits per second (Mbps).
Client Adapter Radio hardware installed in the client device (laptop, PDA, etc.) that allow communication to and from an access point.
Connection Quality Wireless connection quality is determined by factors that can affect radio transmissions, such as distance from the access point, number of users sharing the bandwidth, state of the environment from which the transmission is taking place, and the presence of other devices that can cause interference. Acceptable throughput levels should be specified within service level agreements.
Coverage The geographical area where an acceptable level of wireless connectivity exists. Coverage is the geographical area where good connection service quality is attainable.
Encryption A method of scrambling and unscrambling data between one connection point and another.  The purpose is to prevent unauthorized eyes from being able to decipher the user's data.
Interference Degradation in wireless communications by any number of causes such as other wireless devices, microwaves, handheld radios, cordless telephones, high voltage audio speakers, transformers, etc.  Interference is the degradation of a wireless communication signal caused by electromagnetic radiation from another source.  Such interference can either slow down a wireless transmission or completely eliminate it depending on the strength of the signal.
User Authentication A method by which the user of a wireless system can be verified as a legitimate user independent of the computer or operating system being used.
Wireless Infrastructure Wireless access points, antennas, cabling, power, and network hardware associated with the deployment of a wireless communications network.