WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS POLICY

Overview

This document sets forth the policies for using wireless technologies and assigns responsibilities for the deployment of wireless services and the administration of the wireless radio spectrum. This policy describes how wireless technologies are to be deployed, administered and supported at Georgetown College. The policy governs the deployment of wireless technologies with a central administrative desire to assure that all constituents be assured of deploying such systems with an acceptable level of service quality and security.

 Wireless Ethernet systems will be deployed at Georgetown College to support both administrative, academic, and student applications. This policy guides such deployments. Policies and guidelines for deployment of these systems are essential to:

  1. Prevent interference between different implementations and other uses of the wireless spectrum.
  2. Safeguard security of campus network systems.
  3. To provide a baseline for connection quality across a diverse user and device community.

This policy helps define the levels of service that the campus community should assume to be part of the campus wireless infrastructure.

 Scope of the Policy

Information Technology Services (ITS), is responsible for providing a secure and reliable campus network to support the mission of the College. Under this broad responsibility ITS must foster campus-wide network standards for meeting the networking requirements of all campus constituencies and limit access to network connections which do not conform to generally accepted standard networking and security measures. The policies stated below deal with known concerns and in aggregate do not necessarily form a comprehensive policy statement. Electronic communications is changing rapidly both in terms of technology and application. This policy, other relevant Georgetown College and system policies, and all applicable laws govern the use of electronic communications resources at Georgetown College.

 Scope of Service: This policy defines the levels of service that the campus community should assume to be part of the campus wireless infrastructure. It defines the roles of the campus units and ITS for deploying and administering the wireless infrastructure for the campus.

 Network Reliability: In a wireless environment, network reliability is a function of the level of user congestion (traffic loads), environmental concerns (weather, building construction, etc), service availability (interference and coverage), wireless standards used and device/equipment quality/performance. In efforts to provide an acceptable level of reliability, this policy establishes a method for resolving conflicts that may arise from the use of the wireless spectrum. The campus approaches the shared use of the wireless radio frequencies in the same way that it manages the shared use of the wired network. While ITS does not actively monitor use of the airspace for potential interfering devices, we will respond to reports of specific devices that are suspected of causing interference and disrupting the campus network. When interference between the college owned campus network and other devices cannot be resolved, ITS reserves the right to restrict the use of all wireless devices in college-owned buildings and properties.  Due to interference, privately owned or departmentally owned wireless access points are not permitted in Georgetown College buildings or properties.

  Security: The maintenance of the security and integrity of the campus network requires adequate means of ensuring that only authorized users are able to use the network. Wireless devices utilizing the campus wired infrastructure must meet certain standards to insure only authorized and authenticated users connect to the campus network and that institutional data used by campus users and systems not be exposed to unauthorized viewers.

  Support: This policy defines the responsibilities for planning, deployment, management and development of wireless network equipment and services.  Policy statements herein provide for ITS to support wireless environments on the campus.

  Coverage:  Signal strength may vary throughout areas on campus.  Due to limitations, not all areas of campus may receive a wireless signal.  If this occurs, the user is expected to contact the Help Desk via phone and provide information regarding the location and predicted future usage.

 Definitions

 Access Point: An access point is a piece of wireless communications hardware, which creates a central point of wireless connectivity. The access point is a common connection point for devices in a wireless network. Similar to standard wired “hubs”, access points are shared bandwidth devices and can be connected to the wired network or wireless mesh, providing wireless access to the campus network.

  Baseline Level of Connection Service Quality: The baseline level of connection service quality is determined by factors that can affect radio transmissions, such as distance from the access point, number of users sharing the bandwidth, state of the environment from which the transmission is taking place or transmitting through, and the presence of other devices that can cause interference. The baseline is established as a location having a usable signal and bandwidth during expected network loads while environmental concerns are normal. Not all areas of campus can be expected to have a baseline level of connection at all times.

 Coverage: Coverage is the geographical area where a baseline level of wireless connection service quality is attainable.

 Interference: Interference is the degradation of a wireless communication signal caused by electromagnetic radiation from another source. Such interference can either slow down a wireless transmission or completely eliminate it depending on the strength of the signal.

 Privacy: Privacy is the condition that is achieved when successfully maintaining the confidentiality of personal, student and/or employee information transmitted over a wireless network.

 Security: Security, as used in this policy, not only includes measures to protect electronic communication resources from unauthorized access, but also includes the preservation of resource availability and integrity.

 Wireless Infrastructure: Wireless infrastructure refers to wireless access points, antennas, cabling, power, and network hardware associated with the deployment of a wireless communications network.

 Policy

 Responsibility for Wireless Access Points: Campus responsibility for electronic communication resources resides with Information Technology Services. Information Technology Services must approve all installations of wireless access points used on the campus.

  1. Wireless equipment and users must follow general computing policies. Wireless services are subject to the same rules and policies that govern other electronic communications services at Georgetown College.
  2. Abuse or interference with other activities is a violation of acceptable use. Interference or disruption of other authorized communications or unauthorized interception of other traffic is a violation of policy.
  3. Radio communication, due to its dependence on a scarce and shared resource, is subject to additional rules concerning interference and shared use.
    1. Wireless access points must meet all applicable rules of regulatory agencies, such as, the:
      1. Federal Communications Commission
      2. Public Utilities Commission
      3. Wireless access points must be installed so as to minimize interference with other RF activities.
      4. Wireless access points may not be installed without approval of Information Technology Services.
    2. Only hardware and software approved by the Associate Vice President, Information Technology Services or designee shall be used for wireless access points.
    3. Deployment and management of wireless access points in all areas of the campus is the responsibility of Information Technology Services or designee. Areas of the campus include, but are not limited to buildings/property owned, leased or operated by Georgetown College.

Security: General access to the network infrastructure, including wireless infrastructure, will be limited to individuals authorized to use campus and Internet resources.

  1. Physical security of wireless access points will be maintained to protect the access point from theft.
  2. Encryption shall be used on all systems accessing college owned resources.  The encryption of the signal shall be the highest level that is commercially available while being the most commonly accepted standard.
  3. Access points shall enforce user authentication at the access point before granting access to sensitive or otherwise restricted campus or Internet services. Wireless network interfaces shall support authentication to access the campus wireless network.
  4. Guest wireless access shall be restricted from accessing the server, dorm and administrative networks and services of Georgetown College.

 Interference: Wireless networking equipment is a shared medium that uses the unlicensed frequency bands to create small local area network cells. These cells can be further linked together over an underlying wired network to create an extended wireless network covering whole buildings or wider areas. The success of any wide deployment wireless networking requires that all equipment that operate in the frequency spectrum to be carefully installed and configured to avoid physical and logical interference between components of different network segments and other equipment.  In the event that a wireless device interferes with other equipment, Information Technology Services shall resolve the interference as determined by use priority.

Suitability: Wireless networks are not a substitute for wired network connections; rather it extends the wired network for convenience but it cannot match wired networks for security or performance.

  1. Users of wireless should consider all communications over the wireless network as insecure and available to anyone.  Any communication containing personal or privileged data should not be transmitted across a wireless medium.
  2. Wireless access points provide a shared bandwidth. As the number of users increase the available bandwidth per user and coverage area diminishes.
  3. New plans for buildings and gathering areas should consider the need for and use of wireless networking, similar to the planning done currently for wired networking.

Policy Effective: 01/04/2003

Policy Updated: 07/19/2013

 



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