The University of Iowa provides Wi-Fi wireless access for students, faculty, staff, and guests. This service provides wireless data network access for mobile computing devices such as laptops and smartphones. The University focuses on providing access in common spaces, classrooms, conference rooms, office spaces, and similar areas. Other non-public areas may be covered, but these types of spaces are not currently priority coverage areas.

Wi-Fi Benefits and Limitations

The wireless service is recommended for convenient access to the University’s data network. Wireless communications allow for device mobility and easy physical reconfiguration of systems in a collaborative environment.

While ITS is has made substantial progress in improving the coverage and capacity of the wireless service, there are many external factors outside of ITS' control that can impact the service. Please see the following article concerning service level expectations.

Configuration, Troubleshooting and Support
The UI Wireless Support Site provides detailed information on how to obtain wireless software, configure common clients, and troubleshoot common wireless issues. The Help Desk supports Windows and Mac OS X operating systems on laptops, as well as several mobile devices, such as Apple's iOS, Android, and some Windows Phone devices. You can call the Help Desk for additional support at 4-HELP (319-384-4357). You can also visit the Help Desk in person (hours and locations can be found here). Faculty and staff may get additional support from college, department, or other local IT support staff.

Who can access the Network?
The University requires authentication to gain access to the eduroam wireless network. Users must have a valid HawkID or guest account ID that is authorized to use the eduroam service. Most faculty, staff, and students are automatically authorized. Authorization may be revoked to resolve a security issue or remove a problematic device from the network. 

Guests and visitors can use the UI-Guest wireless network.

Data Privacy
You should take the same precautions with regard to protecting data when using the wireless network as you do when transmitting data over the traditional wired network. Data that needs to be secure should be encrypted end-to-end. For example, when you are shopping at Amazon.com, the checkout process is encrypted from your computer all the way to the Amazon.com servers to protect sensitive information. You generally verify this type of encryption by looking for a lock icon next to the web address that indicates the session is secured.

The University encrypts over-the-air wireless traffic on the eduroam network as a best-effort to protect it from eavesdropping, but the University cannot guarantee the protection of that data.

Over-the-air wireless traffic on the UI-Guest network is NOT encrypted. Guests and visitors should make sure to take additional precautions to secure their data.

Service Fees
There are currently no recurring fees associated with the wireless service. If an organizational entity would like to expand wireless coverage, they are responsible for installation costs.

Wireless Client Requirements
The service supports clients using IEEE 802.11g, 802.11a, 802.11n and 802.11ac access protocols. Client adapters must support the IEEE 802.11i security standard, which is also known as WPA2 Enterprise. When purchasing a card, you should verify that it is WPA2 certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Most wireless client adapters manufactured in the last few years meet the above requirements.

For network performance reasons the wireless service does not support IEEE 802.11b wireless access protocols.

The authentication protocol used at the University is EAP-PEAPv0/MS-CHAP-v2. Support for this protocol is built into Microsoft Windows, Mac OS 10.3+, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. 

Installing Your Own Access Points

Members of the University community should not install their own wireless networking equipment without written consent from ITS. Deploying consumer-grade wireless access points is strongly discouraged. These devices have been responsible for numerous network problems on campus (wired and wireless), including building-wide network outages. ITS will provide configuration parameters for devices that are approved for installation, but the individual installing the device is responsible for its proper configuration. You can request permission to install an access point by sending an email to ITS-NetworkServices@uiowa.edu.

Residence Halls
Since the Fall of 2010, ITS has been providing wireless Internet access in the residence halls. These access points are fully supported by ITS and the Help Desk. Personal wireless routers are not allowed in the residence halls.

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Last updated: 
January 23, 2020