Frequently Asked Questions about Wireless at NAU
What is wireless?
The NAU Wireless
network is an extension of the NAU wired network. It allows users of
portable computers to use NAU network resources over an 802.11b/G
("Wi-Fi") radio link.
How does it work?
network uses "access points" that send and receive network data
over the 2.4GHz radio frequency band, allowing portable computers with an
802.11b/G-compliant wireless interface card (WIC) to use the network. The
way it works is that your computer will "associate" itself with
the nearest access point, using that access point to join the network. The
WIC software will receive a Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) address,
allowing you to connect to the NAU Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using the
VPN, you can then make use of any resources available, just as if you were
plugged into the wired network.
What hardware do I need?
Most new laptops
come with wireless interface cards already installed. If you need to
purchase a card for your laptop ITS supports the
Cisco Aironet 350, Linksys model WPC11, WICS from DELL and the Belkin F5D6020 wireless
cards. The Belkin and the Linksys wireless cards are available at
the NAU Bookstore. ITS can also procure the equipment for your
department. However you can use any
portable computer with an 802.11b/G-compliant wireless interface card.
Depending on where you purchase them, you can expect to pay $60 or higher.
What software do I need?
You must be running Windows 98SE, NT, 2000, or XP.
Students using Windows ME are also supported.
For PCs, all you
need is the software driver that comes with your PC wireless interface
For Mac, OS 10.2
comes with software you need. Some older versions can use a third party
Microsoft Virtual Private Network, (VPN) client, which you have to do in order to use the wireless network.
Please refer to the VPN page.
Where do I get the hardware and software?
and software products can be purchased at the NAU Bookstore. They also have
You can also order departmental purchases through ITS.
Also mail-order vendors or local retail outlets supply these items.
How do I install the equipment?
Insert the card
into the PCMCIA slot on your laptop computer. Insert the driver CD into
the CD-Rom drive. The OS should automatically detect the card and install
the proper drivers.
procedure may vary, depending on what kind of computer you have and which
wireless interface card you're using. If you need assistance, contact the
Solution Center at 3-1511(faculty/staff) or the
Computing Help Desk at 3-9294
(students), or call the equipment vendor's customer support number.
Can departments set up their own wireless access
departments from setting up wireless equipment on their own, mostly
because of serious security issues and radio-frequency conflicts. However,
ITS provides low cost installation and support for network equipment.
your department is interested in setting up wireless access points, see
FAQs for Departmental Installations
for more information about how ITS can help get you on the air.
Can Macs go wireless?
Mac OS 10.2 comes
with the necessary VPN software. If you have an older Mac OS, you must
install a third party Microsoft VPN client such as
However, it may be cheaper to upgrade your operating system to Mac OS 10.2 if your hardware will support it. Please refer to the NAU VPN
page for more information.
What about security? How do I use the Virtual
Private Network with NAU wireless?
Private Network provides security for data transmitted along both
the wired and wireless networks. Without the VPN, clear text passwords and
be captured if the session is not encrypted. By authenticating to
the VPN with the VPN client your session will be encrypted between the PC
and the VPN and not beyond these two points. When connected to
Internet based services please remember that the scope of NAU VPN security
does not extend out to the Internet. In effect the scope of VPN
security is to protect you from exposure over the radio portion of the
Which areas of the campus are covered?
access can be found at:
Union Building 30
Dubois Center Building 64
Learning Resources Center Building 61
Information Technology Services Building 54/54a
Eastburn Education Center Building 27
Engineering and Technology Bldg 69
Babbitt Administrative Center Building 51
Project Management Office Building 8
Physical Sciences Building 19
College of Business Building 81
Southwest Forest Science Complex Building 82
Wettaw Biology/Biochemistry Building 88
Gateway Center Bulding 43
Institute for Human Development Building 27A
Hotel/Restaurant Management Buildings 32,33,33A
Health Professions Building 66
Facilities Services Building 77
Colorado Plateau Studies Building 24
Riles Building 15
Biology Building 21
Ashurst Auditorium Bldg 11
Social and Behavioral Sciences Bldg 65
North Union Bldg 3
Nursing Bldg 72
Cline Library Bldg 28
Gammage Bldg 1
Bookstore Bldg 35
What's the range of a signal, and how far away can
The range will vary
depending on the composition of the building. The software that comes with
your wireless interface card may have tools that show the connection speed
and signal strength. By moving around, you can identify the areas that
have the strongest signal and fastest speeds. Generally speaking, the
highest connection speeds can be achieved when you're within 75 feet of an
Step-by-step instructions for getting up and
Here's a simple
outline of the procedure for getting on the air with NAU's wireless
Buy and install the hardware
If you have a PC or
a Mac, get a wireless interface card from the NAU Bookstore or another
source of computer equipment. Installation procedures will differ,
depending on what kind of computer you have and which wireless interface
card you buy.
However you must DISABLE all proprietary security (WEP).
DHCP must also be enabled.
Configure your computer to
run with the NAU Virtual Private Network (VPN)
To use the VPN, you
need to have Microsoft VPN software on your computer. If you're running
Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP, ME (students only) or MacOS 10.2, the software comes with the
operating system. Go to ITS's VPN
page and select "VPN Client Configuration" for specific
instructions on how to configure the VPN client software.
Go to the coverage area
Once you've got the
software configured, you're ready to go on the air. Take your computer to
the coverage area. Your wireless client
icon should allow you to view and select available wireless
networks. Select NAU (uppercase). Be careful about selecting
any other wireless network as you may be vulnerable to security exploits
through these access points.
Start the VPN client software, and you'll be prompted
for your username and password. For help please refer to the VPN
Once you've logged on to the VPN, you can
do almost anything you can do on the wired network. The only caveat is
that TCP/IP services are supported -- AppleTalk services, which typically
include such functions as printing and file-sharing, are not supported.
Where to go for support
If you're having
trouble getting up and running with the wireless network, you can get help
from the Solution Center
(faculty/staff) at 523-1511 or the
Computing Help Desk (students) at 523-9294.