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10 November 2009

WIRELESS (WI-FI) ON THE MEDICAL CAMPUS

The medical campus has an extensive 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi network which provides pervasive coverage inside and outside most medical campus buildings. The major coverage exception is UM Hospital (UMH).  Wireless access points are currently being installed in UMH, and Wi-FI access should be available in all areas of that facility by March 2010.   Click here for a coverage map.

How do I connect to the Wireless on the Medical Campus?

Look for the Medical_Wireless wireless network on your preferred computing device, and connect as you would for any other wireless network.   A login page will appear when you open your Internet browser.   More on that process below.

Is the Medical campus wireless network limited to medical campus affiliates or can visitors use it? 

Medical campus affiliates can log into the wireless network using their Medical ID and password. 

UM affiliates from the Coral Gables campus can log in with their own credentials by selecting the "Coral Gables Network Secure Login and Session" button on the wireless login page. 

Guests with no UM affiliation can log in using the "Guest" button on the login page.

Is there any charge?

There is no charge for use of the wireless network, whether by UM affiliates or guests.

What’s the difference whether I log in or not?

Guests have limited Internet access (certain kinds of web sites are off limits, such as e-commerce sites).  

Signing on with your UM credentials allows you access to secure websites, full medical campus network resources such as internal websites (SharePoint, IDX, RIS/PACS, etc), network printers, and network drives.

Can I use my Wi-Fi capable cell phone, PDA, or other handheld computing device on the campus wireless network?

Yes.  However, access to Medical_Wireless requires the installation of a small "client" program on the connecting device.  If your particular device does not support the installation of such programs (a la OS X and Windows) then it may require a special setup that can be performed by a Medical IT technician.

Can I use the wireless network to connect a desktop computer or a network printer instead of a cable?
                                                                                                                 
The wireless network is primarily intended for mobile devices such as laptops, smart phones, etc.  Desktop PCs and printers should use a tethered connection. Note that wireless connections on campus are fast, but may not be suitable for some of the data-communications-intensive applications that are used on campus. Also, while wireless is now very reliable, it's inherently less reliable than a wired connection. 

Is the campus wireless network secure?  Does it use encryption?

Yes, if you log in.  Then you have a wireless SSL connection, which is quite secure.  However, Medical_Wireless used in "guest" mode does not itself use encryption like WPA, so it is not recommended for secure transactions like those involving credit cards.

What if my area of the campus seems to have inadequate wireless coverage?

Contact the Help Desk at 305-243-5999, option 1 for assistance.  If necessary, Medical IT’s Network Engineering group can conduct a site survey.   Usually the problem is with the device that is trying to use the network, but sometimes it is necessary to increase the density of wireless access points (APs) to achieve adequate coverage.

Can I install my own wireless access point to supplement the wireless coverage?

No.  It is NOT permitted to install wireless APs yourself, as you would at home.  An unauthorized AP will disrupt network traffic in the area where it is installed, and may so disrupt the connections of others far from that area. 

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