Wireless Network (Wi-Fi) Policy

Originally Issued: October 2012

Contacts: Don Diener Lori Temple

Download Policy Document Download Procedure Document

Policy

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) approves and manages wireless network (Wi-Fi) systems on UNLV properties. Any wireless system that creates its own wireless network or extends the UNLV network must be approved by OIT.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Maintain a secure network environment.
  • Ensure seamless wireless network (Wi-Fi) services on campus.

Entities Affected by Policy

Entities affected by this policy include UNLV students, employees, campus vendors, and guests.

Who Should Read This Policy

UNLV students, employees, campus vendors, and guests should read this policy.

Exceptions

  • Currently, there are no predefined exceptions to the Wireless Network policy
  • Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis

To make a request for a wireless (wi-fi) network exception, please complete the IT Policy Exception Form.

Exception requests will be processed within 10 business days of receipt of the request.  If an exception is created, the exception will be audited on an annual basis. The owner of the system or a listed designee must respond to the annual audit and verify that the exception is still required.

Upon approval of the exception, OIT staff will work with the requester to establish parameters for placing their system on the network. To establish appropriate placement on the network, the following information will need to be provided and/or developed:

  • Audit and risk mitigation mechanisms to protect sensitive data and preserve the integrity of the UNLV network
  • Technical documents that detail the wireless network's RF (radio frequency) characteristics
  • Topology diagrams showing interconnects with the UNLV network, the Internet, and other private networks
  • Beginning/end dates and hours of operation for the wireless network
  • Communication strategy for adjacent customers who may experience interference from the wireless device
  • Designation of primary and secondary points of contact who will respond to changes or problems related to the system
  • Documentation of the security and authorization mechanisms for connection to the network

Exceptions will be reviewed annually. Changes to the exception may only be requested by the system owner or a documented designee appointed by the owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Wireless (Wi-Fi) Policy?

The policy states that the Office of Information Technology manages wireless networks on UNLV properties. UNLV maintains a Wi-Fi network to support data service for use by UNLV students, staff and guests. Any wireless device which advertises wireless data services must be approved by the Office of Information Technology 

Why is the Wireless (Wi-Fi) Policy being implemented?

The policy is being implemented as a result of guidance provided through the NSHE Security Audit conducted in the Spring of 2011 and to provide a secure and reliable managed wireless network for UNLV.

How will the Wireless (Wi-Fi) Policy affect my daily work at UNLV?

Most UNLV staff and students will not need to take any action and may not be aware of this policy. If you are operating a wireless device such as a wi-fi router or switch, you will be asked to remove the device from service or turn off the device’s wireless radio.

What problems result from operating my own wireless router?

For wi-fi (802.11) networks, there are a limited number of channel assignments available for use. UNLV wireless systems are using all of the channels to provide service to customers. Any additional wireless devices will contend with the systems offered by UNLV. This results in a degradation of service quality for the UNLV network and for any unauthorized networks within radio range of UNLV’s network. UNLV must also prevent any wireless systems from broadcasting UNLV network names such as UNLV-Secure, UNLV and UNLV-Guest. Accidental or malicious wireless networks advertising UNLV network names (SSIDs) present many security concerns and at a minimum will cause confusion and service problems for customers attempting to connect to UNLV’s wireless systems.

I have a mobile wireless router which connects to a 3g or 4g cellular network and then advertises a wi-fi network. This allows anyone near the mobile wireless router to connect to my cellular service via wi-fi. What is the policy regarding this type of device?

Using a cellular data device does not interfere with UNLV’s wireless network. However, if the same device advertises a wi-fi network for nearby devices to connect, this will cause interference and channel contention issues as described above. These devices should not be used while on campus. The UNLV wireless network is much faster and should be used in place of a mobile wireless router while on the UNLV campus.

The equipment and installation for UNLV wireless is expensive and I’ve purchased my own system to support my requirements. What is the policy regarding the network I’ve established?

UNLV has used various funding sources to deploy over 1200 wireless access points around campus. There are still areas which do not have coverage. UNLV will work with departmental customers to help identify funding for an official wireless installation. Once the system is installed, you will have a secure, reliable and high-speed wireless connection for you, and any others who may visit your work area. UNLV wireless will allow you to roam seamlessly around campus to the many locations where wireless is already installed.

I have a research project which requires custom wireless network systems. Will I be able to establish my research project at UNLV?

The Wireless (Wi-Fi) Policy is not intended to limit research activities. A simple process has been developed to help you request an exception to the policy. Once you complete the web-form linked below, an OIT staff member will review the request and work with you to find a solution which meets your requirements.

OIT Policy Exception Form

I’ve purchased a device which does not work with the UNLV Wireless authentication system. How do I resolve this?

When purchasing wireless equipment, please verify that the device supports WPA2 Enterprise authentication. Almost every laptop, smart phone, and tablet supports this type of authentication. Some older video game consoles and streaming media players may not support this type of authentication. Currently there is no way to connect these systems to UNLV wireless. If you are about to make a purchase and are unsure, you can open a help request with the IT Help Desk ithelp@unlv.edu and a network engineer can advise you on your purchase.