Faculty/Staff Wireless Router Setup

If you are considering installing or buying a wireless router, STOP.  Contact the HelpDesk to see if RPI wireless can be made available. When RPI wireless is available in your area, do not install your own wireless router. Exceptions may be granted after a review.

Consumer grade wireless routers are designed to flood an entire house with signal. They do not play well with other in a congested enterprise environment. We will work with you to find solutions. Contact us. If a temporary exception is granted, the steps below will be required.
 
Student run wireless routers or extenders are no longer allowed in residence halls or academic buildings as of June 2012. ResNET wireless policy

Wireless Router Configuration

It is important to set up and configure your wireless router to work correctly with the RPI network. If you do not do this, you may cause other people to lose their network connection. When this occurs, your network port will be disabled. You will need to take corrective action to resolve the problem before your connection is restored. Also, if your wireless router is not secure, anyone who has a wireless card can access the Internet through your router. If they are involved in any illegal activities that can be traced back to your router, you will be held responsible. WIreless routers must be secured with WPA-2 encryption or better.

We require that anyone running a wireless router on campus (Cisco, Linksys, Belkin, Dlink, ...) configure the unit with a static IP. You can request a static IP address on-line.

Some units will not work with the campus DHCP servers. If so, you can try upgrading to a newer version of BIOS for the router. That may resolve the problem.

General Router Setup

The steps needed to configure most routers appear below. However, since these steps do not include any specifics for any individual router, please consult the wireless router setup for your specific router if you need help. If no documentation for your router exists, please send e-mail to the VCC Help Desk staff, or call them at ext. 7777, and let them know that you are trying to set up a wireless router that does not have any documentation available. They will find a time that you can come in, and one of the consultants who is familiar with the campus' wireless connectivity will help you configure your wireless router.

  • Plug the WAN port into the wall
  • Change the Device IP Address
  • Change the login Username and Password
  • Set the SSID to your RCS userid or your building and room number
  • Enable WPA-2 (Encryption is required)
  • Setup your WPA-2 Key and write it down
  • Make sure that the WPA-2 Authentication type is set to Shared Key
  • Configure the router to use a static IP you recieved from the hostmaster@rpi.edu.
  • Limit the number of clients the router will hold to 10-15
  • Setup any filters, port forwarding , or port triggering
  • Write Down the following settings: Device IP Address, Username, Password, WPA-2 Key, and SSID . You will need these when you setup individual clients to work with your wireless network.
  • DIal down the power so it only covers your immediate lab/office.
  • Disable 2.5Ghz radio and only use the 5Ghz radio. 5Ghz will be faster and cause less interference.

Installing a Linksys Router

The Linksys installation instructions (PDF file) will guide you through the installation and configuration of the Linksys wireless router. The instructions are designed to help configure the router so it both works with the RPI network and is secure.

IP address not generated by RPI network?

A common problem with many newer versions of the WRT54G Linksys Wireless Router is that the computer recognizes the wireless router, but there doesn't seem to be an IP address being generated by the RPI network. The problem is due to a difference between how the router requests an IP from the RPI DHCP servers and how the servers expect to be queried.

Use the static IP you requested from hostmaster@rpi.edu.

Setting the Power Levels

It is important to note that the power level settings are not included in the default menus on the newer Cisco wireless routers. As a result, use the following steps in order to dial down the power setting:

  • Ensure that their router's internal IP address is set to 192.168.1.1. (This should be the default setting, unless the user changed it during configuration.)
  • Access Cisco's Advanced Wireless setup webpage.
  • From the resulting page, change the Transmission Power option setting from High, which is the default, to Low. (See Figure 1.)

Important notice to Netgear users:  As of September 21, 2011, there is currently no way to adjust the power setting on any Netgear wireless routers.

Unlike other brands, all Netgear routers have a fixed transmission power level which is designed to cover a much larger area, such as an entire house and not a single lab or office. As a result,  avoid using Netgear wireless routers on Rensselaer's campus. 

Requirement Summary

In short, all Staff/Faculty running wireless routers or considering running a router must contact DotCIO first. Only if RPI wireless cannot accomodate the need should the following steps be taken.

  • Configure the unit with a static IP address.
  • Use encryption to make sure their wireless router is secure.
  • Dial down the router's power level.
  • Use an SSID that identifies the building and room or staff responsible; for example, use an SSID such as MRC_117 or Prof_Lou or an RCS userID. One way or the other, Rensselaer needs to be able to identify either the location or owner via the router's SSID.
  • Turn off 2.5Ghz. Use 5Ghz only.