No routers in a college dorm room?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by PaulinMaryland, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. PaulinMaryland macrumors regular

    PaulinMaryland

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    #1
    A friend who's about to ship her third daughter to college told me today that most U.S. colleges won't allow personal routers or switches in the dorm room. Has anyone else heard this? I find it hard to believe, given that CNET recommends the AiirPort Express in The Ultimate Mac Dorm Room.

    My daughter will be attending U. of Maryland. I guess I'll see what I can learn about their computer policies.

    If true, that means my daughter can't use an Airport Express, as a print server or as an iTunes server.
     
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #2
    That is true...imagine the interference if everybody had a wireless access point in their room.
     
  3. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #3
    This is the norm in most universities, since the routers in effect give out IP addresses which aren't controlled by the university IT dept. There are workarounds to this, as I believe has been discussed in other threads. It is possible to fool the network into thinking there aren't multiple IP addresses, but I don't know the details.
     
  4. macdaddy121 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I know of a couple of colleges that allow routers in the dorm. I don't know the rules though.
     
  5. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    My university (university of vermont) does not permit routers or wireless setups in the dorm rooms. I did have a hub to network my printer, but students are not permitted to setup wireless access points, servers of any kind, or any routers.

    This doesn't mean that a few "no rules apply to me and I cannot live without my own wireless" students didn't set up their own, but network services watches that closely and did force more than a few to get rid of them.

    Check with your microcomputer services department to check the policy of UMD, but most schools don't allow this kind of thing.
     
  6. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

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    #6
    My school discouraged wireless routers, but allowed them - especially if you had someone from the ITS department set it up for you (even if you know how to do it just fine yourself). The best thing to do would probably be to attempt to contact the ITS department at the school and ask them specifically if they will allow it (and if they need to set it up).
     
  7. technicolor macrumors 68000

    technicolor

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    #7
    Alot of colleges also have their own wireless access already setup as well. Many college dorms are both wired and wireless...
     
  8. michaelrjohnson macrumors 68020

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  9. semicharmed macrumors regular

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    #9
    Some schools do, and some don't.
    At RPI, there were two ethernet jacks in a room but there was no prohibition on routers so usually I just used a neighbor's wireless network.
    At Tulane, we had two jacks and routers were strongly discouraged- if tech services found one in your room, they could take it.
    Both campuses were wireless in all academic buildings but wired-only in the dorms. Policy completely depends on the campus, on some campuses one jack per room is the norm so routers are necessary.
     
  10. macattack5 macrumors newbie

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    #10
    They say it my school that wirless hubs interfere with some kind of wireless telephone system. Also its just to unsafe for the school if someone sets up their own router.
     
  11. TDM21 macrumors 6502a

    TDM21

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    #11
    I work for one of the networking departments at my college (the one that actually deals with students) and we always have to stress that students can not set up routers in their rooms. From what I've been told, a router can mess with how the switches work and in previous years have been known to knock the internet out on floors and even entire dorms. Also there is a liability risk. The school has a closed network that should only be accessed by people with the proper access (students, faculty, staff). If personal routers are set up, then that closed network is compromised and anyone can access it. Obviously the school does not want that to happen so to make the IT's work easier, all forms of routers are banned.

    Sorry to sound like the bad guy, but you actually stop and think of all the problems that can arise from routers you can see why they are now allowed.
     
  12. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #12
    It's true.. the reasoning?

    The college IT group doesn't control Johnny Freshman's wireless router that he has set up in his room.
    Johnny doesn't know or care about security, so his wifi access point is wide open to the world at large.
    Anyone with a laptop can hop on and become part of the college network.
    The college IT group works very hard to try and keep their network secure, and safe. Since typically there's a lot more than just students on it. This is very hard to do, and a random unprotected wireless AP is an easy vector to the "inside".

    There's plenty more scenarios that argue against routers, this is but one valid one.

    EDIT: D'oh, too slow.
     
  13. PaulinMaryland thread starter macrumors regular

    PaulinMaryland

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    #13
    Wow--11 replies in 18 minutes. My thread hit a nerve!

    May I equip her printer with a BlueTooth receiver?
     
  14. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

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    #14
    i never found out about those rules at my university. our dorms were wired, and anywhere else on campus we have wireless. i never had a need for my own..
     
  15. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

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    #15
    Can't you set an express up as a wifi printer server and iTunes server, but not allow it to be a router with internet? Meaning, she could connect to it like a normal wireless router to print or play iTunes, but would have to use ethernet for internet.
     
  16. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

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    #16
    my friend goes to the university of maryland (he will be a sophomore this fall) and he has an airport extreme that he uses all the time. i believe other people tap into it, as well, which is a side-effect of having a router. but the point remains: he still uses one and he hasn't gotten in trouble for it.

    meanwhile, he also got a job working for their computer division (office of information technology), so i presume that if it really caused any harm, he'd know about it and would stop using it.

    i say go for it. if it doesn't work or there are problems with the school administration, return the router. my friend hasn't had any problems there.
     
  17. PaulinMaryland thread starter macrumors regular

    PaulinMaryland

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    #17
    Using AirPort as a print server only (not for Internet)?

    Good question. What's the answer, anyone?
     
  18. PaulinMaryland thread starter macrumors regular

    PaulinMaryland

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    #18
    The thing is, my daughter won't want to have to insert the USB printer cable each time she turns on her Mac "just in case" she needs to print. Nor will she want to have to disconnect it each time she packs her Mac in her backpack.

    I really want her to be spared the need to physically connect her printer to the MacBook each time she "might" need it--or even, each time she knows she needs it.
     
  19. Lau Guest

    #19
    Will she need to though? The reason I ask is that I'm too cheap to buy a wireless thingy for my printer, and so just plug it in if I'm about to print something and unplug it afterwards. It works fine, but isn't the most elegant solution, I'll give you that. :D
     
  20. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #20
    My university also don't allow routers to be set up. But I ignored them and set a wireless router up for myself. The rooms were designed by monkeys on crock and who knows what else, so the placements of the electric sockets and routers are difficult to say the least. So a wireless router makes it so much easier, I don't have to worry about a ethernet cable going all around the room to my computer on the other side.

    I just slap WPA2 and MAC filtering on the son of a gun and made the SSID hidden. Most people will be deferred by the hidden SSID, then came the MAC filtering, which they'll have to spoof their MAC address to get around, then came WPA2, which a majority of their crappy Dell laptops can't even handle anyway. Oh, and I made the router 802.11g only, which filters even more of them out. Seems excessive, but it was easy to set up, and with OS X it's easy to connect to. It's difficult to connect to using a Windows computer, but that's not my problem :D

    So the university doesn't know squat, and won't notice a flux of users off one socket at once either. And a casual scan won't reveal my network.
     
  21. PaulinMaryland thread starter macrumors regular

    PaulinMaryland

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    #21
    Let's say she's working on schoolwork while slumped into an easy chair in the dorm lounge. To print, she would have to go to her room, connect the USB cable, disconnect the cable, return to the lounge as she worked on the hardcopy. She'd have to repeat this with each typo she caught. Printing a small correction would cease to be a casual, spontaneous step.
     
  22. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #22
    Of course...

    And how many people do you know that their eyes glaze over and roll up into their head when you meantion "WPA", "MAC filtering" and/or "non-braodcast SSID"? A lot.. otherwise wardriving wouldn't be possible, and people stealing broadband from their neighbor's unprotected wifi wouldn't be an issue.
     
  23. celebrian23 macrumors 65816

    celebrian23

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    #23
    I'm pretty sure the college I'm going to doesn't allow routers, but I don't really care. I'm not at the point yet where I'm too lazy to plug my printer in :p
     
  24. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #24
    Not entirely true..

    Typically (now) University wireless is offered in many locations, including "lounges". Some may have printers in the area too, particularly if they're for studying. Especially for frosh. Usually, there's printing instructions on the printer. And hence.. print to the local printer via wireless..

    But your scenario wouldn't be made any easier if there was BT on the printer.

    And anyway.. she should be using the spell checker in Word to catch typos and don't all the kids proofread on-screen now anyways? :) Seriously, a USB printer is an easy solution and really limits the types of troubleshooting over the phone that you will have to do if (nay, WHEN) something goes wrong. ;)
     
  25. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

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    #25

    I doubt a wireless router would help this scenario much for two reasons. 1. Who reprints after every correction? You go through the whole thing and make one copy, takes a few hours between prints. And most importantly 2. The chances of her wireless router's range reaching the lounge is next to none. Lounges are usually far apart with very thick concrete walls in-between that block wireless signals. Oh and 3. she would still have to go back to her room with her laptop to pick up the printed copy. And I say with the laptop because leaving a laptop unattended in a dorm lounge is one of the most sure fire ways to get it stolen.

    Also, I will have to agree with TDM21. About once a week in my dorm I had problems getting on the network because os someone's incorrectly configured router.

    One last point. In my dorm routers were actually detrimental to you. The university gave a download limit to each IP address it assigned. If you used a router then anyone connected to it had to share that limit. However, if you used the university supplied switch, so that everyone got their own IP address from the University, then you each got your own data limit.
     

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