Wireless LAN Enhancement Progress

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With the deployment of the new Aruba Wireless LAN (WLAN) System and installation of new access points in the past two years, we have over 600 access points supporting IEEE802.11a, b and g standards scattered around the main campus, Festival Walk Office and the Student Residence. The main campus is provided with full wireless coverage capable of supporting as many as 2000 concurrent connections.

The new system enables us to offer WLAN service adhering to better security standards for maximized data protection and deliver more sophisticated applications to make the WLAN service more versatile.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

Besides the current Captive Portal and VPN authentication used in the CityU WLAN service, a more sophisticated and robust security standard, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), is now supported.

WPA utilizes 802.1x authentication and TKIP/AES encryption methods to safeguard user data sent through the air. It is an attempt to quickly address some of the problems with the previous security standard known as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). Though with improved security, WPA is still susceptible to potential security risks and limitations. It is advisable not to conduct, through any WiFi network, any Internet activity which involves confidential data or monetary transaction.

WPA is supported by most modern operating systems and is highly recommended for our users to establish WLAN connection. Please visit http://www.cityu.edu.hk/csc/deptweb/facilities/ctnet/wlan/wlanmain.htm for the procedures to configure your computer using WPA.

Using WLAN in Student Residence

Though there are network connections in each room and a terminal room in each Hall in the Student Residence, there are still great demands of WLAN service in public areas offering convenience and flexible network connections for various functions and events.

Initially we have installed APs in the Multifunction Hall A, B and C. We plan to apply for extra budget to extend the coverage to common areas such as multifunction rooms, TV rooms, canteen, etc.

Boundary-free Mobile Computing

Lately, we have been working with other institutions and major local Wi-Fi broadband service providers to achieve a boundary-free WLAN connectivity for our university members (staff members and students) without any charge. Details are as follows:

  1. Education Roaming (Eduroam)

City University has joined the Eduroam to enable our staff and students to connect to the global internet via the local WLAN of the participating institutions while they are visiting these institutions. Likewise, educators or students from these institutions can connect to the Internet via our WLAN while visiting us. Eduroam is a global wireless network using WPA (with 802.1x) security technology to allow members of an institution to logon the wireless network of another Eduroam participant with the use of the credentials provided by their respective home institution.

Currently hundreds of institutions have joined the Eduroam. If you want to know more about how Eduroam works and the list of participants, please visit www.eduroam.hk and http://www.cityu.edu.hk/csc/deptweb/facilities/ctnet/wlan/wlanmain.htm.

  1. Wi-Fi Collaboration with Local Service Providers

The collaboration between the CityU and major Broadband Service Providers aims to provide free-of-charge Internet access at all local Wi-Fi hotspots such as cafes and shopping malls operated by these service providers. The operation is similar to that of the Eduroam.

The collaboration is now in the testing stage and will be deployed shortly. Announcements will be made as soon as this service becomes available.

Future Development

Integration with the phone and video service is our next goal though technical problems, such as those QoS and latency that are load dependent, may not be easily resolved in the near future. As the WLAN technology is becoming more mature and advanced, the Computing Services Centre will constantly be looking for ways to improve and enhance the WLAN services by accommodating the latest technology.