Wireless Networking

Southeastern's Personal Access Wireless System (PAWS) is available to all Southeastern students, faculty, and staff. Visitors and guests may also have access - see User Registration section of Connecting to our Wireless Network.

PAWS provides all the conveniences of a regular wired connection without the need for cables. As a shared resource, wireless networking is intended primarily to supplement the campus wired infrastructure, not to replace it.

This site is designed to help wireless users get connected and find up-to-date information on the wireless network. Southeastern's PAWS is growing at a very fast rate and it is continually evolving.

The Office of Technology is committed to providing you with the most robust, secure wireless service possible.

If you are having difficulty connecting to the wireless network review the instructions on these pages first, and if you need further help, call the Help Desk at (985) 549-5555.


Wireless Technology

Wireless technology may seem complicated and even a little intimidating at times. But in reality, it is fairly simple. Understanding the basics is all you need.

The two main components in a wireless network are wireless access points and wireless clients.


Access Point

Wireless access points are base stations that attach to the wired network. You can think of them as the middle man between the wired and the wireless world. Access points should be installed in a way that maximizes coverage as well as throughput.

The coverage provided by an access point is generally referred to as the coverage cell. Large areas usually require more than one access point in order to have adequate coverage. In this case, access points are usually setup so that their coverage cells overlap. This enables users to roam between cells without loosing their connection.

Wireless clients are the network interfaces (e.g. PCMCIA card) in computer devices such as laptops, PCs, or PDAs that communicate with access points. When a wireless client enters into a coverage cell, it associates to an access point, and if it has all the appropriate settings and credentials, it is allowed to access the network.

So how fast is wireless? It depends. There are many factors that can determine the speed of your wireless connection: distance, obstructions like walls or trees, interference, etc. Generally, the closer you are to an access point, the faster your connection will be.

As wireless clients move away from the access points, speeds automatically fall back to compensate for the distance. But this is not always the case. Wireless is a shared media technology. This means that all users must share the available bandwidth. So it follows that the greater the number of wireless clients associated to one access point, the slower the speed will be for each client.


Wireless Standards

The Southeastern Wireless Network conforms to the IEEE 802.11b/g standards, which operate in the 2.4GHz license-free frequency band. They provide a theoretical maximum of 11Mbps and 54Mbps transmission, respectively. However, it is important to understand that the actual effective throughput is only about half of the theoretical rate. This is due to overhead. In addition, that same throughput must be shared among all users associated to a particular access point. So it follows that the greater the number of wireless users, the slower the speed each user will experience.

Finally, even though 802.11b/g are two different standards, they are compatible due to the fact that both work on the same frequency band. So if you have a laptop with an 802.11b adapter, you can still access a 802.11g network, although your speed will be limited to 11Mbps.






2.4 Ghz

2.4 Ghz

Data Rate

11 Mbps

54 Mbps

Nonoverlapping Channels




Design Challenges

Wireless networking is an exciting technology. With the increase in popularity and competition, wireless has become a very viable and affordable solution. In addition, setting up a wireless network can be as simple as buying an access point and plugging it in.

However, large scale wireless deployments such as the one in this university can present many challenges. Due to the nature of the technology, the size of the campus, and the many areas that need coverage, it is absolutely imperative that the installation of wireless devices utilizing frequencies in the Southeastern airspace be coordinated by a central authority.

The four main challenges that arise when designing a wireless network are the following:

Interference: Limited number non-overlapping channels.
Capacity: Shared medium with limited bandwidth.
Coverage: The faster the speed the shorter the range.
Rogue AP: Potential sources of interference that degrade performance.

The first step in designing a wireless network is to define the area to be covered and the number of users in that area. In a university, these areas range from conference rooms to classrooms, offices, and outdoor areas. Once this step has been defined, the throughput requirements based on the estimated number of users and the expected type of applications can be calculated. Finally, a site survey is performed in order to test signal strength and coverage patterns and determine the best placement for wireless access points, Ethernet drops, and antennas.

Even after conducting a very detailed site survey and deploying a wireless network, ongoing monitoring and fine-tuning must take place in order to ensure optimal performance. Changes such as moving the location of antennas or adding more access points might be required. In some cases, conducting a new site survey is also a good idea. Wireless data travels in the air and this medium can be very unpredictable.

Rogue access points tend to be one of the biggest challenges in wireless networking. When a wireless network is designed, it is setup so that the frequencies that travel in the air do not interfere with each other. This is a challenge in itself because of the limited number of non-interfering frequencies available. For example, 802.11b/g has only three non-interfering frequencies. When a rogue access point is deployed in or close to an area where there is wireless coverage, not only does it become a potential source of interference, but also a source of confusion to users who are trying to connect to the Southeastern Wireless Network.


Connecting to the Wireless Network

In order to be able to connect to the wireless network you will need to have the following items and settings:

  • 802.11b/g compliant wireless card

  • Network type: Infrastructure

  • SSID: sluwireless

  • Encryption: off

  • TCP/IP settings: DHCP

  • User Registration

802.11b/g compliant wireless card

You will need an 802.11b/g compliant card. When purchasing a wireless card, make sure the card is 802.11b/g compliant or Wi-Fi certified. In addition, make sure that you install the latest drivers. Visit the manufacturer's web site for information about the latest drivers.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a nonprofit international association that certifies wireless products based on the IEEE 802.11 standard. Visit their web site at www.wi-fi.org to find out if your wireless adapter has been certified.

The Southeastern wireless network supports wireless client devices that are compatible with 3Com access points. It is compatible with any 802.11 or 802.11g device.


Network Type: Infrastructure

802.11 defines two types of network: infrastructure and ad hoc. An infrastructure type indicates that your wireless client will connect to the wired network via an access point. Ad Hoc, on the other hand, indicates a type of network where only wireless clients get to communicate among each other. You must use infrastructure in order to connect to the Southeastern wireless network.


SSID: sluwireless

SSID stands for Service Set Identifier. This is simply a name used to identify a wireless network. An SSID can either be broadcast or hidden. When the SSID is hidden, the user must know what the SSID of the wireless network is in order to gain access. When the SSID is broadcast, the wireless network is available to anybody. The access points on the Southeastern wireless network are configured to broadcast their SSID. Some wireless adapters will allow you to leave the SSID field blank or enter the word "ANY". This instructs the wireless clients to obtain whatever SSID is being broadcast by the access point. You can also set the SSID explicitly. To connect to the Southeastern wireless network, enter sluwireless into the SSID field.


Encryption: off

The 802.11 standard makes use of two optional security mechanisms called WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) or WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Make sure encryption is turned off.


TCP/IP settings: DHCP

There are two ways of assigning an IP address to a network adapter: static or DHCP. Static assignment requires the use of a unique IP address that will only work on a particular subnet and must be entered manually. DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) on the other hand, refers to the automatic assignment of an IP address. No user intervention is required. The only thing the user is responsible for is to set the TCP/IP settings on the network adapter to DHCP.


User Registration

If you are Student, Faculty or Staff, just login with your W# as usual. If you are a visitor or guest, click the guest link. There you fill in your name, company or organization, all other information requested, and the email address of a faculty or staff member that knows you're on campus and need wireless access. The information is stored in a database and an email sent to the faculty or staff member.

The faculty or staff member gets the email saying "John Doe has requested temporary wireless access.... please click this link to grant this request". Clicking the link will add the visitor's hardware I.D. to the database. Next time the visitor tries to access the wireless network, they are automatically allowed through. We'll keep the visitor account open for a few days before it is automatically deleted.

The registration is a one-time process for students, faculty and staff, so you won't need to register again even if you connect to a wireless network in a different location. If you do not receive the Login page, try entering the URL in your browser: https://www.selu.edu/wireless/login.php

If you are still having problems accessing Internet sites, try clearing the cache on your browser and restarting your computer.

To clear the cache in Firefox/Mozilla:
Go to Edit > Preferences
Go to Privacy
Go to Cache
Click on "Clear Memory Cache" and "Clear Disk Cache"

To clear the cache in Internet Explorer:
Go to Tools > Internet Options
On the General tab, under Temporary Internet Files, click on "Delete Files"


This is so that next time you open your browser, you won't be directed to the registration page again. In addition, we strongly recommend that you restart your machine. This will give the DHCP server enough time to provide you with an IP address.