IT Services

Oxford Wireless LAN

Title of Service: The Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL)

Status of Document: This document describes services offered in June 2011.


1. Introduction

1.1 OUCS supports two wireless networking services within the collegiate university. Any wireless ‘hotspot’ set up by a department or college may implement one or both of these.

1.2 Eduroam is a service for members of the Eduroam federation across the world, and is the primary means of wireless connection for university members. It allows simple connection to the network not only at Oxford but at hundreds of other education institutions around the world, using the same username and password.

1.3 OWL is intended for members of and visitors to the university. For members, it is based on the University VPN service run by OUCS. Almost all client systems configure themselves for the network without user intervention, and beyond that the process is identical to using the VPN from a wired location. For visitors, OWL is similar to services provided in coffee shops, airport lounges, etc. A visitor requires no special software other than a web browser, and makes use of an account created (via a web-based application) by the local IT officer of the unit to which he/she is a visitor.

2. Summary of OUCS’s responsibilities

Hours of Service

2.1 The service operates at all times.

2.2 Operator cover is provided from 08:30 to 20:30 on weekdays. Periodic monitoring takes place outside these hours, and informal arrangements exist for staff to be called, but no funding is provided to make this contractual.

2.3 If a fault is notified between 09:00 and 17:00 on a working day, OUCS will commence investigation and correction within one hour (provided that no similar fault is also being handled by the same team).

2.4 If a fault is notified outside these hours, OUCS will use its best endeavours to attend the fault, but no funding is allocated to this purpose.

Serviceability Targets

2.5 It is intended, as far as is possible, to maintain service of all components at all times.


2.6 OWL for members depends on the VPN service (separate SLD).

2.7 OWL for visitors requires use of two special services, an authentication server and a network gateway. These servers are duplicated.

2.8 The Eduroam service requires authentication services from the same authentication servers used for the VPN service, and in turn requires response from the ‘Janet Roaming Service’ maintained by JANET(UK).

2.9 Wireless hardware owned and operated by OUCS is configured with N+1 resilience in the management hardware appliances.

Alternative Facilities

2.10 Departments and colleges can also supply their own local wireless services.

Hardware and Software Maintenance

2.11 The servers and hardware appliances used are maintained under warranty by the supplier with next business day response. OUCS keeps on-site spares for the access points.

2.12 Software updates are applied by OUCS staff – this is done with the minimum of interruption to service.

System Development

2.13 There is no scheduled development time.

Administration and Support

2.14 Information for departmental and college system administrators is given at

2.15 A web interface is provided for departmental and college IT Officers to register usernames for the OWL Visitor Network service.

2.16 Notification of faults, outages, etc is circulated on the mailing list

2.17 Faults should be reported to OUCS will liaise only with department and college computing officers. No end-user wireless networking support is provided.

Education and Training

2.18 Not applicable.

3. Summary of client’s responsibilities

3.1 Departments and colleges wishing to use these services must follow the regulations laid out by ICTC, at

3.2 The client will provide contact details of the person with responsibility for departmental and college networks, with whom OUCS can liaise.

4. Premium services

4.1 Not applicable.

5. Logging

Logs are kept of system messages from devices such as Wireless Access Points and Wireless LAN Controllers. Logs are retained for 90 days.