As of this month, UAB wireless network access for faculty and staff is included in the standard campus network service fee. And, UAB employees no longer are required to sign up for the service – their BlazerID and password will allow them to authenticate to the network.
“UABwifi” will continue to be available to all currently enrolled students with a BlazerID and password.
Since its inception in 2003, the UABwifi network, which initially was targeted toward students, has experienced exponential growth. The first “UABwifi Zones” were installed in Hill University Center, classrooms and libraries and have since been expanded to include common areas in some residence halls and other student buildings.
As the demand for wireless Internet access has increased, the UABwifi network has been expanded to include research buildings, such as the Shelby Building. “Another significant enhancement planned for this year is the implementation of additional UABwifi Zones,” said Bob Cloud, director of Network and Infrastructure Services. “Areas targeted include outdoor parks, the soccer field and tennis courts and additional research and office buildings.”
A map of current and planned UABwifi Zones is available online at www.uab.edu/wireless .
Although the UABwifi service is a convenient option for mobile users, it’s important to remember that wireless networks have some disadvantages over physical wired networks. For instance, because bandwidth is shared among all users of the same wireless access point, users may experience slower connections than when using the wired campus network.
Data security is another consideration when using the wireless network. Although WEP key encryption is utilized to secure the wireless signals, IT recommends the campus VPN software as an additional layer of security (more information on this is available online at www.uab.edu/vpn). Future improvements are under development for the service, including stricter 802.1x encryption, which will provide stronger encryption and increased security.
Additional planned future enhancements include the addition of two fee-based options for guest access to the UABwifi network. Departments wishing to learn more about these service plans should visit www.uab.edu/wireless .
For issues or questions regarding setup and configuration of UABwifi, contact the AskIT Helpdesk by phone at 996-5555 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .