A unit of the Office of Information Technology @ NCSU
ComTech > Wireless

Frequently Asked Questions

Basic FAQ - Private Wireless Network - Instructional Hot Spot - Guest Wireless- NCSU Max

Basic FAQ

How much does it cost to use NC State Mobile Computing?

  • Mobile computing is currently a free service at NC State University.
(Back to Top)

What kind of service can I expect from Mobile Computing?

  • The goal of the NCSU wireless will be pervasive connectivity of the highest speed technologically possible, and will be maintainable so that users will experience the minimum of slowdowns and disruptions with the design goal being for pervasive 11MBps coverage. Faster speeds (54MBps) will be considered a bonus. There may be areas where it is not pragmatic to design for 11MBps. These areas would probably be "pockets" with few occupants where improving coverage would significantly impact the design and costs.
(Back to Top)

What areas of the university currently have wireless service?

  • There are a lot of areas covered by the wireless network. View our Coverage Maps link to the left to see the areas covered on campus. If your area is not covered suggest it. Click on the Vote for Hotspot link.
(Back to Top)

I am having trouble connecting. Where can I get help?

  • You can call the university help desk at 5-HELP.
(Back to Top)

Who can use the Nomadic wireless network?

  • Anyone with a vailid Unity ID and password can use the NC State wireless Nomadic network
(Back to Top)

How do I connect to NC State's wireless Nomadic network?

  • Your computer should detect NC State's wireless network if you are in an area with coverage. Simply choose to connect to the network named "ncsu." Then, open a web browser to authenticate with your Unity ID and password. Once authenticated, you can browse the web, check your email and more!
(Back to Top)

What rules are there for using the Nomadic wireless network?

  • Running remote services (web server, ftp server, nfs server, any person-to-person file sharing services, etc) is prohibited. All traffic to and from the Nomad System is logged and associated with the user, as permitted by the NC State Administrative Regulations, section II, G.
(Back to Top)

Is the NC State wireless Nomadic network secure?

  • Wireless network users are responsible for the security of the data transmissions they send over the wireless network. Transmissions over the wireless network are not encrypted or secure. Users are strongly encouraged to use secure application-level protocols when sensitive information traverses the wireless network; otherwise, they should move to the wired network. Example secure application-level protocols are: https, ssh, scp, vpn.
(Back to Top)

How do I log out of the Nomad system?

  • Click the "Logout" link on the information screen or return to nomad.ncsu.edu and click "Logout." Users will be automatically logged out if they are network idle for 2 hours or are off of the network for 10 minutes.
(Back to Top)

What is 802.11?

  • The number 802.11 refers to a family of networking standards developed by a working group of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It is a widely used standard that establishes the rules for wireless networking. It is supported on different computing platforms; including Macintosh, PC and many handheld devices. The numbers 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11a refer to the various wireless-networking specifications available within the 802.11 family, which all work in a similar manner. 802.11b -- This is currently the most widely used standard on NC State campus, but newer access points are being installed which also support 802.11g.

    802.11g -- All new wireless access points on campus support this faster standard. Wireless devices supporting 802.11g are backwardly compatible with 802.11b, so they will work with our 802.11b access points. Note that newer laptops support 802.11g.

    802.11a -- This is a separate standard that by itself is not compatible with either 802.11b or 802.11g, but manufacturers have released wireless hardware called "tri-mode cards," which supports all three. This standard is available as an option for many laptops, and in a separate networking card. Support for 802.11a is limited to a few select areas, such as some College of Engineering classrooms. Note: NC State does not provide Bluetooth networking connectivity.

(Back to Top)

What do I need to get set up for wireless?

  • Most, if not all, newer laptops come with wireless networking built in. This is preferable because you do not need a separate networking adapter. It is possible to buy a Windows-based laptop with wireless networking that supports all three of the common wireless standards: 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11a. Many Apple Macintosh laptops support 802.11g. For 802.11a support, you will need to buy a separate adapter. If you have a PC laptop without built-in wireless, you will need to get a CardBus or USB wireless networking adapter.

    If you have a newer Macintosh laptop it probably has built-in wireless. If not, you should consider buying an Airport card, which is quite easy to install. If you have a PocketPC, either a Compact Flash or SD 802.11b card may work with your handheld. Some Palm OS handhelds now support wireless networking, which is either built in or available via a SD card. In all cases, what you are looking for is 802.11b compatibility, specifically stated.

(Back to Top)

What brand should I get?

  • There are different brands, and we won't tell you which one to buy. If you are buying a new laptop, it makes sense to get wireless built in, unless you are on a tight budget. If you opt for a separate card, get one that offers good support, including online access to drivers.
(Back to Top)

What can you tell me about hotspots?

If my department buys a Hot Spot from ComTech, can we take it with us if we move?

  • No. Once a Hot Spot is installed it becomes part of the building infrastructure, therefore making it unavailable to move.
(Back to Top)