Enhanced Security Protections
Information Services has added some network restrictions to improve security protections for users of DePaul's wireless network. This change should not impact users that are utilizing standard web and network resources.
Proactive User Outreach
Information Services administrators monitor WiFi connectivity issues and have begun to pro-actively reach out to users who exhibit unusually high connectivity problems. In many cases, these failures are second mobile devices that have an old password configured, but in other cases the cause is not always clear. Our goal is help fix any intermittent or consistent problem if we can and for those users that could use this additional help even if they might not realize there may be a problem.
Session Caching Feature Disabled
Information Services administrators have disabled an authentication feature on the WiFi system that was intended to help speed up connection times, but has been found to be a problem for some Microsoft Windows 10 systems. TLS session resumption is a feature that allows roaming WiFi systems to minimize the steps required to maintain authentication to the wireless network as a user roams or becomes temporarily disconnected. In some cases a Microsoft Windows 10 system may fail to auto-reconnect and require human intervention to re-authenticate, causing a minor annoyance and inconvenience for users of the affect systems. In lieu of some small authentication performance boost with this feature, we have opted to disable it to maintain stability and convenience for all. The performance boost provided only a small potential benefit and was deemed unnecessary.
Implemented new radius authentication server infrastructure. Upgraded access points in Loop CDM spaces used for Hackathon, 2nd and 9th floors
DePaul Center Library (Loop Campus)
Installed new higher-bandwidth cabling. Added 16 additional and replaced existing wireless access points with newer 5GHz APs.
Richardson Library (Lincoln Park Campus)
Improved wireless coverage in Richardson Library second floor by installing 12 additional newer 5GHz access points as part of Library remodeling project.
Residence Hall Wireless Improvements
Upgraded and increased number of wireless access points in all residence halls. 802.11ac wave 2 models installed (500 APs added and 300 replaced). AP’s installed inside every other room. Wired ports upgraded to 1G connectivity. Adjusted radio power on AP units using survey data, reducing channel overlap.
Completed survey of students to gather feedback on status of wireless at DePaul. Analysis of student feedback used for planning of upgraded campus-wide infrastructure project.
Radius Authentication System Improvements
Information Services administrators have made some additional configuration changes to the Radius Authentication system servers to improve system performance and reduce delays and failures in authenticating client devices. On October 21, administrators updated the Lincoln Park authentication server to address some configuration errors that were problems with the way the server was using server resources. This change greatly improved the performance of the server and significantly reduced the access failures being reported by the system. On October 25th, administrators began balancing the processing of authentication requests, so that the load is distributed equally between the two servers instead of serving requests based on campus location.
Radius Authentication System Improvements
Information Services administrators have significantly enhanced the resources of the Radius Authentication system servers to improve system performance and reduce delays in authenticating client devices.
High Capacity Wireless Access Point Deployments
Information Services engineers have replaced standard access points in various areas on DePaul's campus that regularly have the highest number of wireless users. In September we deployed high-capacity Aruba 802.11ac access points in the following locations:
- First and Second Floors of Lincoln Park Student Center
- First and Second Floors of Schmidt Academic Center (SAC)
- First Floor Lab and Second Floor of CDM Center
- First Floor Lab and State Street Lobby of Daley Center
- Seventh through Twelfth and Fourteenth Floors of Lewis Center
- Eleventh Floor of DePaul Center
This hardware upgrade should help to alleviate some congestion in these spaces and provide a better wireless experience for students.
Information Services engineers upgraded the wireless controllers to address some bugs and security vulnerabilities.
Wireless Network Consolidation
Where possible, we have consolidated the available wireless networks to reduce confusion and overhead (for example, depaulwireless is now only visible within residence halls).
We have cleaned up and consolidated the structure and details of content related to wireless, to improve usability and reduce confusion.
Wireless Access Point (WAP) Radio Tuning
Information Services engineers optimized wireless access point radios, attempting to minimize co-channel interference from other nearby access points. The effect should be an improved signal for client devices, providing more stable connectivity in areas where more than one access point may have been previously accessible by user devices, as well as a better experience when roaming between locations serviced by different access points.
Information Services engineers installed and configured a new wireless network monitoring solution, to enhance visibility of wireless usage and service quality, as well as better troubleshoot wireless problems and user issues. This additional visibility and monitoring will help optimize the existing WiFi network, and inform plans and proposals for further enhancements and build-outs.
Information Services conducted a survey of students to gather feedback regarding their wireless experiences at DePaul. An email was sent to all enrolled students in May, and a brief summary report and full results may be found here.