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Message from cruch@fsmail.bradley.edu

At Bradley, we are experiencing a lot of problems in our residence halls this year with RF interference.  Based on some help from Cisco in analyzing this problem, we're seeing lots of interference from:
  • personally owned access points
  • wireless telephones (we removed all telephone jacks except for residence advisers several years ago)
  • bluetooth devices
  • game consoles
  • microwave ovens
  • etc.
We are currently starting an education campaign to reduce this interference.  Can anyone provide advice on how to gain control of these problems?  We see a lot of University sites that discuss these problems but I don't see anything suggesting how successful they have been.

I particularly see difficulties with eliminating microwaves from residence halls.

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Chuck

-- 
***************************************************
J. C. "Chuck" Ruch
Associate Provost for IRT/CIO
Bradley University
Office (309) 677-3100
Cell (309) 370-7104, Fax - (309) 677-3092
cruch@bradley.edu
***************************************************


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Comments

We banned all personally owned access points/routers.  If we find them on our network we have the RA’s go in and have them removed.  Second offenders get further disciplinary action, but we never get that far.  We have 99.5% indoor wireless coverage and ample bandwidth, so students don’t need to bring personal routers/access points.

 

Have not come across issues with the other devices like you have indicated.

 

Tom D. Kruse

Chief Technology Officer

Loras College

 

We also ban personally owned access points & routers.

Ken Schindler/SVSU


Message from cruch@fsmail.bradley.edu

As a follow on question.  Another of the sources of interference we've been told is creating our problem is wireless printers.  Have any of you seen problems with wireless printers?
Chuck

-- 
***************************************************
J. C. "Chuck" Ruch
Associate Provost for IRT/CIO
Bradley University
Office (309) 677-3100
Cell (309) 370-7104, Fax - (309) 677-3092
cruch@bradley.edu
***************************************************




On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 13:38, Tom D. Kruse <Tom.Kruse@loras.edu> wrote:

We banned all personally owned access points/routers.  If we find them on our network we have the RA’s go in and have them removed.  Second offenders get further disciplinary action, but we never get that far.  We have 99.5% indoor wireless coverage and ample bandwidth, so students don’t need to bring personal routers/access points.

 

Have not come across issues with the other devices like you have indicated.

 

Tom D. Kruse

Chief Technology Officer

Loras College

 

Message from sheila@exchange.montana.edu

For those of you who say you ban users’ access points, etc., how do you enforce that?  In the case of Tom Kruse from Loras (below), he said that when they find the rogue access points, the RAs are directed to go in the room and remove them.  But how do you find them?  We have about 3,000 undergraduate students living on campus and a small support staff so walking around with a laptop or other device to detect these rogue wireless networks is out of the question. 

 

Sheila Crowe

Montana State University ResNet

 

We have about 7,000 residents.  When we first implemented the ban a year ago we did a big education campaign.  Well over half of the routers were shut off voluntarily.   If I remember right we had about 600 rogue SSIDs.  We had students on our resnet support staff walk around with fluke airchecks before the ban to record the number SSIDs and again after the education campaign.  The next step was to use them to track down rogue APs.  This was time consuming but worth the effort. 

 

We also have an online trouble report that a resident can fill out if they are having connectivity problems.  We ask them to list all the SSIDs seen.  Now that we have the problem under control the trouble reports are our main way of knowing about personal routers.

 

Having an effective policy and consequences helps get the word out that you are serious.  We have a policy that can result in eviction with enough repeat offenses.  No resident has been evicted but we have been close.

 

Unless you have an infrastructure that includes rogue AP detection and location, you will have to spend some time to locate APs.

 

Chris Michels

Northern Arizona University

 

We see wireless printers but haven’t banned them.  In my opinion if a printer is not transferring data it is not causing a significant interference problem.   We direct residents to configure the printer to use channel 11 in the 2.4 ghz spectrum and reserve channels 1 and 6 for our use.  This has been fairly successful but not perfect.  This only works for us because we use Extricom wireless equipment which uses a single channel blanket and intelligent wireless switches to keep the APs coordinated.  I don’t think moving them to channel 11 would work in a traditional channel planning architecture.

 

I also did not push for a ban of printers because printing is not a central service we provide in the halls.  It is easier to ban routers when we already provide our own wireless network.  It is a much tougher sell to ban something and provide no alternative. 

 

Chris

 

Many wireless control systems can detect rogue APs and there are tools like Fluke's AirCheck that can easily detect and help you locate a rogue AP.  We found that by providing a robust, dense wireless environment, the students had no incentive to buy and install an AP on their own.  We find a few each year, but they've not been a problem for us.

On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 17:31, Chris Michels <Chris.Michels@nau.edu> wrote:

We have about 7,000 residents.  When we first implemented the ban a year ago we did a big education campaign.  Well over half of the routers were shut off voluntarily.   If I remember right we had about 600 rogue SSIDs.  We had students on our resnet support staff walk around with fluke airchecks before the ban to record the number SSIDs and again after the education campaign.  The next step was to use them to track down rogue APs.  This was time consuming but worth the effort. 

 

We also have an online trouble report that a resident can fill out if they are having connectivity problems.  We ask them to list all the SSIDs seen.  Now that we have the problem under control the trouble reports are our main way of knowing about personal routers.

 

Having an effective policy and consequences helps get the word out that you are serious.  We have a policy that can result in eviction with enough repeat offenses.  No resident has been evicted but we have been close.

 

Unless you have an infrastructure that includes rogue AP detection and location, you will have to spend some time to locate APs.

 

Chris Michels

Northern Arizona University

 

Various systems can address the problem differently.   Aruba Wireless controllers can detect and shut down rouge APs by inspecting layer 2 and layer 3 differences.  That said, the best answer is probably to configure your network switches to enable DHCP Snooping to block such devices from handing out IP addresses to begin with.

Sent from my iPad

We also do not allow students to provide their own APs.  There are 1700 students living on campus and a limited number of staff to go after rogue APs.  Instead of looking for the rogue APs we wait until we identify them while solving  some other problem then we will work with the RA to have it removed.  It is generally only one or two a year since wireless was installed throughout the dorms.

 

Aaron Smith

Network Engineer

Ursinus College

 

Message from ppettit@mail.millikin.edu

We ban all personal wireless APs where we have deployed university wireless access.  We too work with RAs to get the word out and we have Cisco wireless controllers that help us spot where the rogue APs are located.
Pat


 
 
Pat Pettit, Director of Information Technology, Millikin University
1184 W. Main Street
Decatur, IL 62522
217-362-6488
 


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>>> "Tom D. Kruse" <Tom.Kruse@LORAS.EDU> 1/19/2012 9:58 AM >>>

At Loras College our backbone is all Cisco and all fairly new product.  Cisco monitoring tools allow us to catch anything that interferes with our wireless where we can narrow down the location and then work with the RA and students to identify exactly what device is causing the concern.  Very few students try to bring in AP's these days since we have good wireless service for them.  Some try for gaming reasons feeling they will get better connectivity, but we catch them fairly quickly.

 

Also, during breaks when RA's do their inspections they are aware to look for rouge devices that may be of concern and they discuss them with us.  It is very helpful that everyone is on the same page.

 

Lastly, communication to the campus (including students) on why you don't allow AP's and statistics typically provides enough information where they understand why we have the policy and they don't even try.

 

Tom D. Kruse

 

 

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