What is Wireless Networking? - Ohlone Wireless Networking, Information Technology (IT) Department

Wireless networking allows you to connect your laptop or other wireless device to the Ohlone College Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

The details:

  • Wireless networking or WLAN at Ohlone College is based on the 802.11 WiFi standard and includes three separate protocols that focus on encoding (a, b, g). 802.11b was the first widely accepted wireless networking standard, followed, by 802.11a and 802.11g.

    WLAN Security at Ohlone College is enforced with the 802.1X standard for port-based network access control. It provides authentication to devices attached to a wireless access point, and is based on the PEAP protocol.

    This connection will be encrypted using Transport Layer Security to secure wireless communications between your device and the network. To enable encryption, wireless users must download and install the "Ohlone Wireless CA digital certificate." (available below)

  • 802.11b has a range of about 150 feet with the low-gain omnidirectional antennas typically used in 802.11b devices. 802.11b has a maximum throughput of 11 Mbit/s, however a significant percentage of this bandwidth is used for communications overhead; in practice the maximum throughput is about 5.5 Mbit/s. Metal, water, and particularly thick walls absorb 802.11b signals and decrease the range drastically. Current cards can operate at 11 Mbit/s, but will scale back to 5.5, then 2, then 1, if signal strength is an issue. 802.11b divides spectrum in 14 overlapping, staggered channels of 22 megahertz (MHz) each.

  • 802.11a uses the 5 GHz band, and operates at a raw speed of 54 Mbit/s, and more realistic speeds in the mid-20 Mbit/s. The speed is reduced to 48, 36, 34, 18, 12, 9 then 6 Mbit/s if required. 802.11a has 12 nonoverlapping channels, 8 dedicated to indoor and 4 to point to point. 802.11a has seen limited adoption because of the high adoption rate of 802.11b, and concerns about range: at 5 GHz, 802.11a cannot reach as far with the same power limitations, and may be absorbed more readily.

  • 802.11g uses the 2.4 GHz band like 802.11b, but operates at 54 Mbit/s raw or about 24.7 Mbit/s net throughput like 802.11a. It is fully backwards compatible with 802.11b.

  • Most WLAN card manufacturers now offer equipment that support dual-band/dual-mode or tri-mode cards that can automatically handle 802.11a and b or a, b and g as available, or access points which can support all standards simultaneously.

Setup information for some types of wireless cards.

Important things to know about Ohlone's WLAN

  1. WLAN Security at Ohlone College is enforced with the 802.1X standard for port-based network access control. It provides authentication to devices attached to a wireless access points, and is based on the PEAP protocol.

  2. The Ohlone WLAN requires user authentication and permission to use the WLAN. Users need to log-in on to the WLAN with their user ID/name and password in the same way as access is granted to other on-line college resources.

  3. Users will still need to log-in to the MS Windows domain, servers, email, or website just like on the wired network.

More Information about Wireless Networking

Some of the above information was drawn from wikipedia.org website. Wikipedia copyright notice: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights