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News from NGN: WiFi networks and security update

April 5, 2017
NGN What's New

The Next Generation Network WiFi system has been reimagined to improve performance and security. The new system will have three WiFi networks: eduroam, UofM Secure, and UofM-Guest.

eduroam is a secure, worldwide roaming WiFi access service. It allows you to gain secure WiFi access using your University of Minnesota email address and password when visiting other participating institutions. eduroam is the preferred secure WiFi network at the University of Minnesota for students, faculty, and staff.

The eduroam and UofM Secure networks provide the same security encryption as they did on the former system. Stability, capacity, speed, and performance are greatly improved. University students, faculty, staff, and official sponsored accounts should be using the eduroam network exclusively as it will provide the best access to all appropriate University applications. eduroam can also be used when visiting other participating educational institutions. Learn more.

UofM-Guest is an unencrypted WiFi service for guests of the University, accessed through an easy-to-use portal. When guests connect to the UofM-Guest network they are are provided a fast and stable network, but one that has additional security controls. There is a 5-megabit speed limitation, a 5-hour limit on access, after which users will be asked to reset their access, and not all applications will have be accessible or fully-operational depending on user needs and authentication parameters. There is also a control applied that will evaluate the client device and if the system recognizes the user as one that has successfully connected to either eduroam or UofM Secure, access to the Guest network will be denied. The user will be reminded to connect to eduroam or UofM Secure.  

The UofM-Guest portal also allows student, faculty, staff, and official sponsored users unencrypted access for devices that have issues connecting to eduroam or UofM Secure. This service is designed so users can find help and support tools. Security controls are applied to UofM-Guest to ensure safe computing and protection for University applications, and access to University applications protected by official U of M Identity Management authorization (Shibboleth) will be denied. Applications such as MyU, University email (Gmail), Google Apps, Active Directory, financial systems, and several others will not be available. Students, faculty, and staff looking to connect to the above applications will be prompted to connect to a secure WiFi network such as eduroam to continue their tasks.

The new WiFi network configuration will be available as the NGN WiFi phase is completed, building-by-building, over the next year. WiFi work will begin on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities St. Paul campus in April 2017. If you have questions about the University of Minnesota WiFi network or changes to WiFi, please contact ngn@umn.edu.