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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is wireless computing?
2. What do I need to use wireless computing?

3. All the wireless network cards I see only seem to support Microsoft Windows. Can I use wireless computing with Apple Macintosh or Linux machines?
4. Where can I get wireless network cards?
5. Can I use wireless computing at home?
6. Where is wireless connectivity available on campus?

7. What brands of wireless networking products does Andrews University recommend?
8. Does having a WirelessZone in my building mean that I don't have to use wired connections for my desktop computer any longer?
9. Will my Dell LT series home version wireless card work with Andrews wireless computing?

If you have a question that isn't answered here, please feel free to ask us.

1. What is wireless computing?

Wireless computing is a method of connecting equipment to a Local Area Network (LAN) via a very low power RF signal instead of a wired connection.

2. What do I need to use wireless computing?

An IEEE 802.11b compliant Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum wireless device. A laptop computer is preferable although other devices can be connected to a wireless network. If your laptop is less than a year old then the manufacture of your laptop may have an IEEE 802.11b compliant Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum option available for it. If not you will need to purchase a IEEE 802.11b compliant Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum PCMCIA card to plug into your laptop computer.

3. All the wireless network cards I see only seem to support Microsoft Windows. Can I use wireless computing with Apple Macintosh or computers running Linux?

If you are an Apple Macintosh user, you currently have a few options for using wireless computing. Many new Macintosh's come with support for Apple's AirPort wireless networking which can be used with wireless computing at Andrews University. If you use an older Macintosh PowerBook that does not support AirPort, you can use the SkyLINE wireless networking card from Farallon (although the SkyLINE has not been verified to work with wireless computing at Andrews University, it's specifications meet the stated requirements).

If you use a computer running Linux, you may use the wireless networking cards available at the ITS computer store here on campus. Although they do not include Linux drivers, we have found third-party drivers that will allow the use of these cards with Linux. Please email bidwell@andrews.edu for more information.

4. Where can I get wireless network cards?

    1. From the ITS computer store here on campus.
    2. Directly from your computer manufacture as an option.
    3. From any major computer reseller handling IEEE 802.11b compliant Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum equipment.

5. Can I use wireless computing at home?

Yes There are several ways this equipment can be used at home.

  1. With two or more PC-4800 PCMCIA cards in laptops, the laptops can be set to communicate to each other by setting the card to run in ad hoc mode.
  2. Universal Client adapters (UC-4800) can be a attached to any device that has a Ethernet 10BASE-T or Serial EIA-232-E port. This would allow Wireless connectivity to these devices from another Wireless device.
  3. One may wish to actually build a wireless LAN at their home using a AP-4800 access point as we have used on campus. Email the Servers and Networks group of ITS for more information. sans@andrews.edu

6. Where is wireless connectivity available on campus?

Please see the availability section.

7. What brands of wireless networking products does Andrews University recommend?

Andrews University started watching the developments in the wireless networking arena beginning in March of 1994. One of the first companies that caught our attention as having a well designed and throughout product at that time was Aironet. We watched the industry for a couple of years and when we decided to build a point to multi-point long haul wireless network in 1996 we again surveyed the players and found Aironet to be the manufacture with the best and most versatile product line at the time. We have built a very good working relationship with the company and felt it only wise to continue to use their products for our indoor applications as well. Cisco Systems, the manufacture of the University's backbone routers and switch gear announced in October 1999 that they will be buying Aironet. We love this merger and feel that only big and better opportunities will come to Andrews because of it.

8. Does having a WirelessZone in my building mean that I don't have to use wired connections for my desktop computer any longer?

Although there are wireless networking cards that can be installed in desktop computers, wireless computing at Andrews University is primarily meant to be used by mobile users (laptops, Palm computers, PDA's, etc.). It is required that existing and new users with desktop computers use wired network connections provided by ITS.

9. Will my Dell LT series home version wireless card work with Andrews wireless computing?

The "LT" series wireless networking cards from Dell have been designed as a low cost home solution and their purpose is to enable consumers to purchase a "wireless networking solution" for home use at a lower cost. The "LT" series product is not designed to be a replacement for the business line of radio devices and that is why it does not communicate to an Aironet Access Point. The Dell "True Mobile line" of wireless networking products should work fine with wireless computing at Andrews.


Wireless computing is a service of the ITS department at Andrews University