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Improve Your Wireless Connection: Tips & Tricks

The following tips can help with wireless network performance issues. If you continue to have problems with the speed or reliability of your wireless connection, contact the IT Help Center.

Turn Your Wireless Adapter Off and On

There are multiple access points (APs) on every floor in the residence halls. Your computer might be connected to an AP that is too far away to provide a good connection. Turning your wireless adapter off and then back on resets the list of available APs. Your computer may then connect to an AP that is closer.

Update Your Computer's Wireless Drivers

Updating your device's wireless drivers improves general network connectivity and speed. For Macintosh computers, run Software Update (Apple Menu > Software Update). For Windows computers, check the optional updates via Windows Update (Control Panel > Windows Update) or go to the device manufacturer's Web site to download the latest drivers.

Update Your Operating System

Computers and other devices that are up-to-date may contain many software fixes that optimize performance, security, and reliability. For more information see our instructions on how to keep Windows and Macintosh computers up to date.
Note: Windows users should set Windows as the default manager for wireless connections by disabling third party software. Consult your computer's Help documentation to learn how.

Use JoinNow to Set Up Your Connection to eduroam

Windows and Macintosh computers may try to automatically set up a connection to eduroam, but if you haven't configured your connection using our setup wizard (JoinNow), your computer's attempts to connect to the network will fail. Your computer may even report that it has successfully connected to eduroam, but you may then find that you don't have actual Internet access or that it is severely limited. See our eduroam documentation for more instructions on how to configure your connection.

Use P2P Software Responsibly

Performance tests on the residential wireless network indicate that certain programs, mainly peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications consume an excessive amount of network resources, resulting in overall loss of speed and reliability.

We recognize that there are legitimate uses for P2P applications (e.g., BitTorrent, Azureus, etc), and that there are ways to use these programs without having a negative impact on network performance. Please take some time to properly configure your P2P applications:

  • Review the configuration settings of your application and limit the "maximum sessions" it allows to 50 (or fewer, if you continue to encounter problems).
  • Do not use of P2P software at the same time that you check your email, browse the Web, or do other things online to avoid using up all the network resources available to your computer.

To stay away from trouble while using P2P applications, see our guide on how to share files online safely and legally.

Minimize Wireless Interference Around Your Computers

Signals from wireless-enabled devices (e.g., wireless printers, Apple Time Capsules) and other common appliances interfere with and degrade the campus wireless network, making Internet access slower for you and your neighbors.

In general, to minimize interference, you should keep power, phone, and/or speaker cables as far from your computer as possible. You can also try to find an area with high signal strength and aim your laptop in that direction or move your wireless adapter to that location (use a USB extension cable, if necessary).

See the table below for specific devices that cause interference.

 

Device

 

Impact

 

Range

 

Solution

Wireless Printers

High

Medium

Disable the wireless feature in your printer and use a USB cable.
Note: Many wireless printers come with wireless enabled by default. They still transmit wireless signals even though they cannot connect to the campus wireless network.

Consumer Access Points and Wireless Routers

High

Very Far

Don't install your own wireless routers or access points.
Note: The unauthorized use of these devices on campus is a violation of the Wireless Airspace Policy.

Apple Time Capsules configured to accept wireless client connections

High

Very Far

Disable your Time Capsule's wireless connectivity and use a USB cable.
Note: Such use of these devices on campus is a violation of the Wireless Airspace Policy.

Microwave ovens
(when in use)

Very High

Short

Use your oven sparingly and keep it away from your computer's wireless antennae or adapter.

Some gaming devices
(e.g., Wireless controllers, headsets)

High

Short

Make sure that these devices are powered off when not in use.

Bluetooth devices
(e.g., keyboards, mice, headsets and headphones, etc.)

Medium

Short

Make sure that these devices are powered off when not in use or use wired alternatives.

Cordless phones operating at 2.4 GHz or 5 Ghz

High

Medium

Use a wired phone.
Note: DECT 6.0 cordless phones will not cause interference.

Wireless-capable cameras or set-top boxes (e.g., Slingbox)

High

Far

Disable the wireless connectivity in your device and use wired alternatives.

Wireless speakers or audio systems

High

Medium

Use wired speakers.

Baby monitors

High

Far

Make sure that these devices are powered off when not in use or use wired alternatives.

Certain computer displays
(especially when connected to laptops)

Medium

Short

Power off your monitor and disconnect it from your laptop when not in use.

UPDATE: Starting in June 2018: JoinNow, a new setup wizard, replaced XpressConnect, making it even easier to connect to the eduroam wireless network.