Residents of the LLC (and Furnald), rejoice! CUIT has just authorized a test program that allows you to do what you’ve already been doing. According to an email sent today by Kathryn Engelhardt, Systems Engineer Manager, the pilot program will allow students in Furnald, Hartley, and Wallach to connect their wireless routers to the University network.
There’s a catch, however: the only router officially allowed by CUIT is the Apple AirPort Express. Engelhardt explained that the reasons for this are that it only has only a single Ethernet connection (presumably because connecting a single wired computer preserves individual accountability) and that it does not have certain features that could destabilize the network.
Though the threat of reformatting your hard drive should your computer be “compromised” by a virus or if you are reported for a copyright violation is threatened in a scary box in the middle of the email, Bwog believes this is just standard CUIT policy reworded as scare tactics. Engelhardt assured Bwog that no action would be taken without full student involvement; every student has the chance to disprove copyright violation accusations.
It’s about time that CUIT start letting students use their own wireless routers. Engelhardt herself has been wanting it for years, but CUIT has held back due to security concerns. As ridiculous as it sounds, there have been incidents in the past in which students’ computers have been part of DDOS and DOS attacks, in which computers are taken over to bombard a network with continuous Internet traffic, effectively knocking the target network (or computer) off the Internet.
In addition, the way the residence hall networks are set up, the DHCP servers of unpermitted routers could start assigning IP address to other building residences, creating IP address conflicts that could kick people off the Internet and Intranet. CUIT needs to be able to fully support these routers and probably doesn’t have the time to write extensive documentation for every router on the market.
So, rejoice, and, with luck, this program will be extended to all residence halls. Since we’re not already doing it. Surely not.
Full e-mail below.
– AB and HEH
In an effort to help bring wireless Internet access to students in University housing, CUIT is conducting a pilot project. During the pilot, CUIT is modifying its rule restricting the use of wireless routers in Residence Halls; Apple AirPort® Express wireless routers are now permitted in Furnald, Hartley, and Wallach Halls and are supported by CUIT*.
Only Apple AirPort® Express wireless routers are allowed; no other wireless routers are allowed or supported in University housing.
You are responsible for all network activity on your wireless router (including any illegal downloading/uploading of copyright material, etc.).
If your computer – or any computer using your access point is compromised or reported for a copyright violation, all computers using your router will be reformatted. Therefore, never share your password.
*CUIT does not provide support for network bridging, wireless repeating or any other brand of wireless routers.
Apple AirPort® Express Setup and Support
To setup your Apple AirPort® wireless router on your own, simply follow the instructions at http://www.columbia.edu/cuit/express.
If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the CUIT Helpdesk by submitting a ticket request online, sending email to email@example.com, or calling the CUIT Helpdesk at 212-854-1919.
Manager, Systems Engineer