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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA to release a new, more secure version of UAPublic Wi-Fi

Tom Price
A view of the various Wi-Fi signals available to students as of Tuesday, April 19. UAPublic will be replaced by a more secure UAGuest network on Friday, which will require a user to create a log-in that will expire after five days.

University Information Technology Services is launching UAGuest, a new wireless network that will require users to make a user name and password, which will expire every five days.

Dragana Vasic, UITS assistant director of communications infrastructure development, said the introduction of UAGuest on Friday is just a small part of a long-term strategic effort to increase security enhancements in order to reduce any violations or illegal use of their services.

She added that it’s also a way for them to authenticate users, pinpoint if they’re doing anything fraudulent or illegal and also promote the use of UAWiFi.

“UAWiFi is a completely secure network that has encryption, and we really encourage our own users, faculty and staff and students to primarily use UAWiFi,” Vasic said.

Students use UAPublic because it is sometimes easier to access since there’s no authentication process, or if other Wi-Fi is lagging.

Angelica Ortiz, a physiology junior, said she uses campus Wi-Fi frequently — using whichever one gives her the quickest internet.

“I really don’t care if it’s secure or not because I need it, and the one that does it faster is the one that I use,” Ortiz said.

Vasic said they’ve recently seen around 4,000 people using UAPublic at once, but it’s been as high as 10,000 users — a number she hopes to see continually decrease.

Since UAGuest requires you to recreate an account every five days, Vasic said it will now be easier to use UAWiFi, which only requires authentication once.

Ortiz said while it may be a hassle to continuously remember your new password and user name for UAGuest, she will still use it if UAWiFi is experiencing trouble.

Both UAWiFi and UAPublic are wireless networks of equal strength and when you see one, you see the other, Vasic said. Neither one should be faster than the other; they have equal connection.

She advises anyone having any problem connecting to call the UITS 24/7 hotline at 520-626-TECH.

Michael Lewelling, an Information Technology Support Center specialist, said the implementation of the new network is an important step because it will increase security and visibility.

“The problem with UAPublic is that pretty much anyone can access it and it isn’t extremely secure,” Lewelling said. “There wasn’t a way for us to monitor what somebody was doing to see if they were creating security risks.”

He added that since the university is a big research institution, it needs to make sure it is doing everything it can to protect everyone’s information.

Lewelling said they’ve been testing it extensively and people shouldn’t worry about it slowing everything down, because it simply is a new network and people won’t see a difference in connection speed or capability.

UAGuest and UAPublic, the current wireless network for guests, will remain available in parallel until May 22. After that date, UAPublic will go offline.

UITS has provided detailed instructions on how to access UAGuest and asks for those needing assistance to please call the UITS 24/7 IT Support Center at 626-8324.

Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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