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Wireless Network Policy

Smith College provides the convenience of wireless data network access in most locations to the campus community. Use of the wireless network should be in conformance with the college's Policy on the Acceptable Use of Computer Resources.

Wireless networking is a broadcast and shared form of communication, and as such presents a variety of additional issues and security risks that are not present with a wired connection. Wireless data protocols also use the shared 2.4 GHz frequency airspace which is open and used by a variety of other technologies, including cordless phones, microwave ovens, and BlueTooth devices; this also presents reliability and performance issues for wireless networking. Therefore, Smith College has adopted the following policies and recommendations relating to the deployment and use of wireless networking on the college's network.

  • Smith Guest network access is offered for temporary use to guests of the Smith College community; it offers limited bandwidth and restricted access to Smith services. Smith Guest access should not be used by Smith students, faculty or staff, except as needed for short term Internet access while resolving authenticated network access problems.
  • Only wireless access points provided and installed by ITS, or authorized and approved by ITS, are permitted on the college's campus LAN.
  • Personal access points are not permitted; where such devices are found connected to the network, data access to that location will be disabled until the access point is removed.
  • Client computers with wireless network interface cards (NICs) are not permitted to be configured to act as access points.
  • When conflicts arise between devices using the 2.4 Ghz airspace and Smith's wireless LAN, precedence will be granted to the wireless data network. Exceptions can be granted; requests for an exemption to this policy should be directed to the college CIO.

Departments may request wireless network access in specific locations not currently covered by submitting an application to the Director of Network Operations or to designated alternates. Smith does not currently require all wireless communications to be encrypted, but use of the Smith Secure wireless mode is very strongly encouraged. Use of other secure communications options, such as SSH and HTTPS, is also highly recommended when such options are available. Access to Banner data or other Smith business systems via wireless access, regardless of location on or off campus, is strongly discouraged, even when using encrypted protocols.


Approved by ITCC: February 22, 2005 Last updated: August 2012