Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find out my wireless signal strength?
Most machines will have a 'wireless icon' in the system tray. If you hover your mouse over the icon, it will usually indicate the Wireless Network you are using. The Network speed. The signal strength (Excellent or Very Good or Good or Low or Very Low). The connection status eg connected; off line; disconnected; attempting to connect etc.
Often if you 'left click' over the icon a 'Wireless Network Connection Status' window will open. Similar information will be displayed. The signal strength is indicated by a number of green/white bars ranging from 5 for excellent down to 1 for very low.
How do I connect an Apple Mac to the wireless service?
Configuration instructions for the Durham University Wireless service using Mac OS X is explained at:
How do I connect to the wireless service with Microsoft Vista?
Configuration instructions for the Durham University Wireless service using Windows Vista are explained in InfoSheet 17.
How do I connect to the wireless service with Microsoft XP?
How do I connect to the wireless service with Windows 7?
Configuration instructions for the Durham University Wireless service using Windows 7 are explained in InfoSheet 30.
How do I connect to the wireless service with Windows 8?
Configuration instructions for the Durham University Wireless service using Windows 8 are explained in InfoSheet 213.
How secure is a wireless Network?
This question is often asked in the context of how easy is it for other people to obtain personal passwords, web sites visited, personal financial data, details of personal files etc.
The simple answer is that NO computer network can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.
While computer system designers provide as secure a system as possible, it is often the end user who fails to take simple precautions, which in turn open their machine to some form of 'hacking' attack.
Given the present technology, the University install and configure systems which are as secure as they can be. We also provide configuration instructions to make the wireless service as secure as possible e.g. use WPA (WiFi Protected Access) network authentication rather than WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy).
However individuals need to take responsibility for their own personal machines. Everyone should take simple precautions e.g.
1) Ensure your firewall is configured correctly.
2) Install anti-virus software AND ensure you use the latest 'data files'.
3) Don't write down passwords on paper.
4) Use sensible secure passwords and not e.g. the name of the family pet.
5) If using a MS Windows based system, ensure you update the system regularly with the latest fixes and patches. For this visit http://update.microsoft.com
What are these IEEE 802.1X Standards?
These are internationally agreed standards that cover Wireless LAN/WLAN.
They cover -among other things- operational frequencies, data rates, range etc.
e.g. 802.11g released in 2003 covers an operational frequency range of 2.4-2.5Ghz with a typical data rate of 11Mbit/s for up to approx 30m (100ft)
For more detailed information about the standard, visit:
What factors can effect the quality of a wireless connection?
If you are experiencing an intermittent or slow connection, it may be the result of interference from other electronic devices.
Some factors which influence the quality of wireless connection are:
a) Distance from the access point.
b) Type and number of walls and obstructions between you and the access point.
c) Other electronic devices in the area e.g. mobile phones.
d) Number of other users connected to access point at the same time.
What is wireless signal strength?
An indication of the strength of the wireless signal being received by your computer.
Wireless was working yesterday. Last night used my laptop at a cyber cafe now wireless doesn't appear to work at the University. Why?
The most likely cause of this is that your PC is not using the correct profile for Durham University Wireless Network.
Before using a wireless network you must create a unique profile for that network. Then to access the network resources, you associate the profile with your wireless network card.
The more wireless networks you use, the more profiles you will have on the machine and the greater likelihood of experiencing 'profile management problems'.
There are several methods of dealing with multi-profiles. One way is to ensure your laptop alway attempts to connect to Durham University Network irrespective of where you are and which network you might be trying to use.
To do this enter the 'control panel' and double click on 'Network Connections'. Then select 'Wireless Network connection', next right click and select 'Properties'. Then select 'Wireless Networks' tab in the window which opens.
In the middle of the tab you should see a 'Preferred networks' section. This should contain a list of all the wireless profiles on your machine -one of which should be 'Durham University Wireless'. Select this entry and then using the 'Move Up' option, move it up to the top of the list. Close down the windows you have opened.
Now when your PC comes within range of the wireless system at University, it should automatically attempt to connect.
Of course having solved the problem about connecting at University you will still need to know how to connect to a different wireless network away from University. It is up to the reader to discover that for him/herself.