Hypertext Student Newsletter: It's Time to Cut the Cords

This story, written by Mara Abrams, a senior in Communications & Psychology, was originally published in the Winter 2004 edition of the Hypertext quarterly student newsletter. Go to http://scg.ucdavis.edu/hypertext/2004winter/winter04.pdf to view a downloadable PDF of the entire newsletter.

Do you have a laptop? Would you enjoy surfing the Internet on campus without having to wait in line at a computer room or lug around a bunch of cords? You're in luck, because UC Davis has a convenient and easy-to-use wireless network! Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • You can connect to the campus wireless network in the following areas: Memorial Union (including the Quad), Shields Library, Physical Sciences and Engineering Library, Carson Health Sciences Library and Bainer, Wellman, and Kemper Halls. For a complete map, visit http://wireless.ucdavis.edu/Maps.htm.
  • You'll need to configure and register your laptop computer and buy a wireless network interface card (NIC) from any computer shop. Once you have your card, you'll need to use the NIC instructions to configure your computer and register your NIC with the campus wireless network, which can be done at http://computingaccounts.ucdavis.edu/. For more complete instructions, check out http://wireless.ucdavis.edu/.
  • If you don't want to purchase one, you can borrow a wireless PC card from the Shields Library Reserve Services Desk for up to three days.
  • Use discretion when receiving or transmitting any confidential information, like credit card or socia l security numbers. Wireless is not as secure as a wired connection, and hackers can 'sniff? (intercept) information transmitted over the wireless network. Only encrypted Web sites, which display a tiny lock at the bottom of the window, protect the transmission of sensitive information. If you're checking your email over the wireless network, it's best to use Web-based email (like MyUCDavis), because email programs like Outlook and Eudora are not secure.
  • To connect to the wireless network, you'll have to sign in using your UC Davis login ID and password. This ensures that people not affiliated with the campus don't access our bandwidth or crowd out legitimate campus users.
  • Don't expect the speed of an Ethernet or DSL connection. Wireless networks are often slower than high-speed wired connections, and can be disrupted more often due to interfering objects around campus. The more active users of a wireless access point (WAP), the slower the connection will be.
  • You can take advantage of your wireless card elsewhere, too. Many homes, offices, restaurants, airport lounges and coffee shops are jumping on to the wireless bandwagon. Some people have actually tracked down restaurants in Davis with wireless access, such as Dos Coyotes, Ali Baba, Common Grounds Coffee, Mishka's, Chipotle, and many others.