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Why Can’t I Bring My Own Wireless Router

The installation of devices like “wireless routers” is not permitted by IT.  All building have wireless “hot spots” either in the main lounge (residence halls) or other common areas (academic buildings).  Many buildings are fully wireless.  See the Schedule  & Locations page for details.

A very simple answer is that the TCNJ Computing Access Agreement does not allow for it. The section “Network and Internet Access” specifically addresses prohibiting these devices.

From the standpoint of security and the continued proper operation of the campus network, the devices create security problems and service issues for users. They permit unauthorized personnel access to the network, which can enable malicious activities either directly or via an “infected” device. The security compromise frequently associates the unauthorized network access or use with the owner of the piece of equipment that provided that access – so the student could be unwittingly permitting someone to do something under their name, and they could then be held accountable for the actions of others.

The devices frequently impact the proper operation of the network. We often see users complaining of network problems that are traced back to these devices handing out incorrect IP addresses on the network. Similar to the case of that cellular network extender, user devices may try to associate with non-TCNJ wireless access and those unaware users experience network problems that are then reported to IT for resolution. In some cases it’s possible to assemble a wireless router and use it for malicious purposes, to gather private user data or snoop on user activity.

To summarize, IT is responsible for providing and maintaining network access on campus. Users are prohibited from “extending” network access using their own devices. Security of TCNJ’s network resources is important to the College and its user community as a whole. Individuals have varying opinions on the security value of their own information, but TCNJ has a standard to maintain with regard to proper system operation as well as liability, as a provider of services to more than just one individual. The user community has an expectation of proper and continued operation of the network resource for the various business objectives. IT advances and has to support that expectation for the network access we are able to make available. User-owned devices extending network service fall outside of IT’s support structure, compromising IT’s objectives for security and operations, and are therefor not permitted.

 

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