What is wireless network access?

Simply put, wireless network access is a connection to the campus network without the use of wires or cables. SUNY Oswego's wireless system is based on new technology that comes with both Windows and Mac operating systems. This technology uses new standards in authentication (802.1x) and security (WPA2).

How does wireless work?
Much like the cellular telephone network, wireless networking works by sending data over radio waves. In the cell phone world, the cell phone talks via radio waves to a tower. The tower relays the messages to the wired, world-wide telephone network. The telephone network sends a signal back to the tower which transmits it via radio waves to the cell phone. Wireless computer access is very similar. Your laptop sends information via radio waves to an access point located inside buildings. The access point is connected to the campus network. Anything coming back to your laptop first goes to the access point and from there is broadcast to your laptop.

As with cell phones, any wireless-equipped laptop within range of a given access point can communicate with the network. Indeed, some systems, including our campus system, permit roaming between access points. If you move out of range, you lose the connection. Further, a single access point can communicate with multiple wireless-equipped laptops. That means that frequently you’ll be sharing the available bandwidth with other users. If there are lots of users communicating with a single access point, you may notice that your network connection slows down. 

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).

Thus, your connection speed depends on distance and on the number of people sharing the access point.

Where is wireless access available on campus?
Please check our online map for exact locations.

Whom do I contact if I need help? 
Contact the Help Desk located in 26 Lanigan Hall. You can also phone the Help Desk at 312-3456 or send email to

What hardware do I need for wireless?
A wireless equipped laptop running the 802.11b or 802.11g wireless protocol. The wireless capability is usually built in to your laptop, especially on newer models. If you’re purchasing a new laptop, you’ll want to make sure that it includes wireless support.

You can also retrofit an older laptop by purchasing a wireless card. Based on our testing, Campus Technology Services recommends two cards: the Linksys Wireless-G network adapter card and SMC Networks 54 Mbps Wireless Cardbus Adapter. Both are available in the College Store.

Which version of wireless are we using on campus?
802.11g, which is the most common standard at present.

My laptop is already equipped for 802.11G wireless. Will it work with the Oswego campus system?
Yes. Most newer laptops are equipped with the 802.11g standard (which has a maximum data rate of 54 Mb/sec, about 4.5 times faster than 802.11b). Our campus wireless system is compatible with any 802.11b or 802.11g equipped laptop.

What do I need to do to connect my laptop to the wireless network?
The SUNY Oswego wireless network requires a one-time configuration to the secure network. All you have to do is connect to Oswego-Secure and enter your Laker NetID when prompted.

Can I use an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch?
Yes. Review the instructions for configuration information.

Can I use an Android phone or Kindle Fire? 
It depends on the device.  Please consult the instructions to determine if it works for your device.

When will additional wireless sites be available on campus, and where will they be located?
Currently, most academic and residential room spaces have wireless coverage.  Please see the wireless map for specific coverage locations.

Can I install my own wireless network access point in my area?
Faculty and staff should contact the Help Desk for a consultation if they are interested in establishing wireless access points in their area.

Students living in residence halls are prohibited from installing their own wireless networks because it is essentially an extension of their network connection, a practice disallowed under the Computer and Network Acceptable Use Policy.

Can guests of the campus obtain wireless access?
Guest wireless access accounts can be created by any SUNY Oswego employee. Accounts are intended for providing wireless access to individuals or small groups of visitors. For larger groups and/or events, please contact Campus Life's Event Management Office at 315.312.2301.  Please check out  wireless computing facilities at SUNY Oswego to determine wireless coverage.

Why do I lose my wireless signal and connection as I move around in a wireless area?
Wireless works via radio waves. Just as your FM reception in your car can get spotty if there are too many tall buildings around or if you’re too far from the broadcasting antenna, wireless suffers from situations where the radio waves are not strong enough to get through.

This is affected by things in the environment (concrete and steel in the walls), and by antenna location (your wireless antenna in your laptop is either built into the card [the bump that sticks out when the card is inserted] or it’s built into the case of the laptop). As you move around, your signal strength may change and that will affect your connection.