Little late to this discussion, but here's my two cents anyway.
Two issues I have with open wireless that haven't been mentioned thus far:
1) security. When you lose authentication, you also lose encryption.
Traffic that's encrypted some other way such as SSL is secure, but if
you're running legacy apps that hit dbase files on a file server or
something, or use ftp, telnet, smtp, and a lot of other internet protocols
you're exposing the traffic to someone with a modicum of skill at packet
2) e-rate - in that paperwork we sign we promise not to use subsidised
services for non-educational purposes. We used to have a couple of WAPs
that weren't encrypted, they were here before I got here and I didn't want
to rock the boat, but I heard rumors there were folks sitting outside the
building at night using them, so eventually I insisted they be shut down.
The wireless traffic, like everything else, is subject to content
filtering, of course, but content filters don't usually discourage the
truly determined very much. I don't see how we can really keep this
promise if we don't make some effort to keep folks who would use the
network for other purposes off it.
We use WPA enterprise encryption, authenticated via RADIUS against active
directory, so anyone with an account, which is all students and staff, can
attach any device they like to the network, as long as it supports the
protocol, which most devices do these days. Encryption isn't about
keeping anyone in the school community off the network, it's about keeping
their traffic safe, and keeping the rest of the world off. We have guest
passwords, too, that I change periodically, so guests can get on just by
asking someone in the know, and I make sure there are plenty of folks in
that category (which is why I have to change it now and then, but it's
Brattleboro Union High School District # 6
School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>Having an open network, that is filtered, doesn't seem to attract that
>much attention. We even have a covered picnic table outside city school
>where you can get our signal, and no one uses it. At Fairfield, where
>until this summer no one could get anything better than dialup, people
>would come, park in the parking lot and log in occasionally. This made
>one staff member nervous. They felt like the school was being threatened.
> Once they understood that this was a legitimate use of public property
>and they got used to the idea there was no problem.
>One wing at City School can see 4 wireless networks from neighboring
>houses. With the high density of access points that we have to support
>the 1:1 the contention for 2.4 Ghz channels is unwelcome, but what can you
>> We recently opened the wireless in our schools. I was not thrilled at
>> first, and seeing 50+ iPods active during the day in our 5-8 middle
>> does indicate "frivolous" use since the devices are not supposed to be
>> visible in school (we are a "distraction free zone"). The issues I see
>> around supervision and buy-in for Responsible Use, not security or
>> to content. Is open wireless an inherent distraction? Is it necessary
>> appropriate if it is rarely if ever used for learning?
>> Personal devices are firewalled from our LAN and subject to the same
>> filtering protocols as our own devices.
>> Of greater concern to me is the request that I open the network in our
>> Elementary School, which sits in the middle of a crowded neighborhood. I
>> would be interested in opinions on having school wireless open to the
>> broader community: personally I am concerned about our liability for the
>> use of the connection by those not associated with the school.
>> *Eric Hall
>> Technology Coordinator*
>> *Waterbury/Duxbury School District*
>> *Washington West SU*
>> On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM, Vinnie Covino
>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>> Students at my high school have submitted a petition to have open
>>> wireless throughout the school. This would mean students would have
>>> ability to attach several types of devices such as cell phones, Ipads,
>>> laptops ect… unauthenticated to our network. Aside from the obvious
>>> reasons like virus protection and putting a strain on the wireless.
>>> are your thoughts as to why we should or should not allow this to
>>> Thank you in advance for your feedback in regards to this
>>> ** **
>>> ** **
>>> ** **
>>> Vinnie Covino****
>>> Technology Coordinator\Network Administrator****
>>> Poultney Town School District****
>>> Poultney, VT 05764****
>>> Ph: 802-287-5861 Ext.238****
>>> Fax: 802-287-2304****
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