5. Security Considerations

Security is a major concern with wireless networks, because many more users are able to view your network traffic than would be possible with wired networks. This is because the radio waves that are transmitted between your client adaptor and our access points are available to other radio receivers at the same time. You can imagine it being like shouting across a crowded room to another person - the conversation is available to eavesdroppers in the vicinity, as long as they understand your language.

We therefore strongly recommend that you encrypt all your network traffic, which will not prevent reception by third parties, but should stop them from understanding the contents of that traffic (for example your passwords and emails).

Using the OWL-VPN service is secure, because your Cisco VPN connection to our central server is encrypted, and all your traffic is sent over that connection. There is also an unencrypted service for visitors to the University, where we cannot enforce or expect that they will have the Cisco VPN client. This latter service is not intended for University members, and will provide limited network connectivity compared to the preferred VPN service.

Up: Contents Previous: 4. Client Software