Information Technology Services is phasing out UNC-Chapel Hill’s UNC-Secure wireless network and moving the more than 50,000 devices that use that wireless connection over to “eduroam,” a secure and encrypted wireless network shared by universities around the world.
Thousands of devices at Carolina have adopted the eduroam network, but 70 percent of all campus wireless connections still use UNC-Secure, said Jim Gogan, Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communication Technologies.
On other campuses, eduroam will be there for you
The eduroam network, which UNC-Chapel Hill rolled out as one of the campus’ wireless networks in fall 2014, offers a big benefit that UNC-Secure lacks—the ability for UNC-Chapel Hill Wi-Fi users to gain network access while visiting other educational institutions that subscribe to eduroam and for visitors from other universities to do the same at Carolina. Some 330 institutions subscribe to eduroam in the United States.
Switching offers Carolina users another benefit as well. By reducing the number of networks that take up radio space to advertise themselves as available networks, more space is available for actual radio traffic, Gogan said.
Anything that you can get from UNC-Secure you also can get from eduroam, so why have both, he said.
On May 7, ITS took the first step in this transition when it stopped accepting new users for UNC-Secure. On October 16—the Friday of the two-day fall break—ITS will remove UNC-Secure from all accounts on campus.
Switching to eduroam is easy
Technology wise, it’s easy for ITS to make the switch. “We click a button,” Gogan said. “We click the delete button on UNC-Secure and it’s done. Our part is easy.”
Moving over to eduroam also is easy for users of UNC-Secure. They go to https://enrollment.net.unc.edu, click on the box for faculty, students and staff and then follow the directions.
What will take a bit more work is informing the campus. “It really means getting the word out to a lot of people,” Gogan said. ITS will work with Carolina Technology Consultants (CTC) to notify the campus.
When the University retired the UNC-1 wireless network, about “75 to 80 percent of devices cut over to UNC-Secure the last couple weeks,” Gogan said. “I suspect that will happen here as well.”
“Generally people around here as busy,” he said. If there’s no reason to make a change early, they’ll wait.
Once most of the campus is using eduroam, ITS sometimes will need to do little extra troubleshooting. If a UNC-Chapel Hill user can’t connect while on another campus, ITS will need to collaborate with the other university and the operators of the central eduroam servers to determine whose system is the source of the problem. “It’s just a couple more steps in problem solving,” Gogan said.