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Be Prepared: Wireless Service Changes Coming this Summer
May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34

A series of changes that will provide more uniform access to Penn’s wireless services for many members of the University community will be implemented this summer:

1. Wireless PennNet, ISC’s older wireless service that co-exists with the newer and more secure AirPennNet service in many buildings and public spaces, will be retired on June 30, 2008.

2. AirPennNet-Guest, ISC’s new wireless service intended primarily for University guests, will be activated on July 1, 2008. AirPennNet-Guest will be available in all non-residential locations where AirPennNet is available.

3. AirPennNet and AirPennNet-Guest are scheduled to replace AirSAS, the wireless service available in SAS buildings, over the summer.

4. AirPennNet and AirPennNet-Guest will become available this summer in SEAS buildings, where they will co-exist with AirSEAS.

The map at www.upenn.edu/computing/wireless shows where the Wireless PennNet, AirSAS, AirSEAS services are currently located.

The map at www.upenn.edu/computing/wireless/map.html shows the new wireless environment.

Benefits of the Changes
With the retirement of Wireless PennNet and the changes at SAS and SEAS, faculty, staff, and students whose computers are configured for AirPennNet will have a uniform way of accessing wireless services wherever wireless is available on campus. AirPennNet, which is based on a protocol known as 802.1X, provides improved security and ensures that all wireless communication is encrypted to protect user privacy. Having a single service across most of the campus is also more cost-effective in terms of support and maintenance.

AirPennNet-Guest, which is based on a different technology than AirPennNet, will provide easy access to wireless services for visitors to Penn, as well as for faculty and staff with devices that currently do not support 802.1X, such as Blackberries and iPhones. Visitors will not need to install or configure the software required for the regular AirPennNet service, though a guest or regular PennKey is required.

Effect on Wireless Users

There will be no change for existing AirPennNet users. Faculty and staff who have not previously accessed AirPennNet, or have been using Wireless PennNet exclusively, will need to install, or configure their computer with, the 802.1X software necessary to use AirPennNet. Instructions for Windows and Macintosh can be found on the AirPennNet pages at www.upenn.edu/computing/wireless/air-pennnet/

Faculty and staff using devices that are not 802.1X-compatible will need to use AirPennNet-Guest, as described below. Anyone needing assistance is advised to consult their Local Support Provider (LSP) before July 1.

Visitors may access the AirPennNet-Guest service by launching a standard web browser and registering with their PennKey and password. They must re-register each Monday for continued network access. Both short-term and long-term visitors may, however, use the regular AirPennNet service if they prefer.

The guest network will also be available to faculty and staff, though they are encouraged to use the regular AirPennNet service unless they have a device that is not compatible with the 802.1X protocol, as mentioned above. AirPennNet-Guest is less secure and provides limited bandwidth compared to AirPennNet.

Getting Help

IT staff across the University have been preparing for these changes for some time. If you need assistance or more information, please consult your LSP. If you don’t know who that is, please see www.upenn.edu/computing/view/support/. Additional information about wireless can be found on the Wireless Web site at www.upenn.edu/computing/wireless.

—Michael Palladino,
Associate Vice President,
Information Systems & Computing


Almanac - May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34