Community College of Rhode Island

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Frequently Asked Questions About Wireless

What is a wireless LAN?

A WLAN is a type of Local Area Network (LAN) that uses high frequency radio waves rather than wires to communicate and transmit data. It is a flexible data communication system implemented as an extension to or as an alternative for, a wired LAN.

What is IEEE 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a?

IEEE 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a are industry standard specifications issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). These specifications define the proper operation of Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs).

What data rates are available with a WLAN network connection?

802.11b WLANs operate at speeds up to 11 Mbps. 802.11a and 802.11g WLANs operate at speeds up to 54Mbps.

Will the wired network provide better speed?

Yes, whenever you can you should use the wired network to do your work.

How fast is a wireless connection to the campus network?

With the 802.11g wireless standard you can have a connection of 54 Mb/sec at best (i.e. if you're right next to the access point and you are the only user). However, you rarely achieve the maximum possible speed. This is because of multiple users and signal strength. All users within range of an access point share that bandwidth, so you'll only get the top speed if you are the only person within range of that access point. In addition, as you move away from the access point and the signal gets weaker, the system will automatically slow down to give you more reliable data transfer (sort of like speaking slower so people will understand you better).

Will WLANs receive interference from other wireless devices or other WLANs?

The unlicensed nature of radio-based wireless LANs means that other products (ex. 2.4 GHz cordless phones, microwave ovens, garage door openers, Bluetooth™ devices) that transmit energy in the same frequency spectrum can potentially interfere with a WLAN system. Older microwave ovens are a concern, but most WLAN manufacturers design their products to account for microwave interference. RF interference can also occur if two WLANs are located in close proximity to each other. This situation is usually dealt with by placing each WLAN on a different RF channel within allowed frequency range.

What is authentication?

Authentication is the process used to verify that a client's device is allowed to use the wireless network.

What is a client workstation?

A computer connected to a network.

What is an access point?

An access point connects wired and wireless networks together and enables the sending and receiving of data between wireless clients and the wired network. Using multiple access points increases total system capacity and range. Users can "roam" between access points without losing their connection similar to the way a cellular phone can roam between cellular phone towers.

What is a MAC address?

The Media Access Control (MAC) address of the Wireless Ethernet Adapter is a unique serial number assigned to the device by the manufacturer. Every wired or wireless network device has a unique MAC address.

Will I need an account to connect?

Yes, faculty, staff, and students can connect to the wireless network by using their MyCCRI username and password.

Why am I being taken back to the wireless registration page after authenticating my laptop for wireless?

If you are a new student and have just activated your MyCCRI account, it will take anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours for your account to be validated.

Why am I getting "you are already registered" when trying to register as a CCRI student today after registering as a Guest the day before?

If you are trying to register as student, staff, or faculty and you have already registered as a Guest, you will not be able to reregister using your MyCCRI account login information. Please call the Service Desk at 825-1112 for assistance.

Whom do I contact if I need help?

For assistance with the wireless network please contact the IT Service Desk at (401) 825-1112 or send email to itsd@ccri.edu.

Why am I unable to connect to the wireless network with my portable phone, PDA or other hand held device?

Wireless devices, such as portable phones, portable digital assistants (PDA) and personal response systems, that broadcast and receive information on the same frequency as the wireless network are not supported on campus due to the possibility of interference.

This page developed and maintained by Network and Telecommunications. Send comments and suggestions to .


Last Updated: 7/30/14