On Oct. 15, Mississippi State University will be saying goodbye to their original wireless network, msu1x, and switching to sole use of eduroam.
According to Gerhard Lehnerer, director of Information Technology Infrastructure for MSU’s Information Technology Services, eliminating msu1x will free up broadband space for eduroam, a wireless peering service that allows users to seamlessly connect to eduroam networks at universities across the world. The two networks are identical in coverage and function, Lehnerer said, and having them both occupy the same broadband space is pointless.
ITS has encouraged students to switch over to eduroam for some time now, and has plans to disconnect msu1x for good October 15.
“We’ve put a stake in the ground of October 15 and we’re going to turn it off, and we expect it to be a tough day for a lot of people,” Lehnerer said.
Teresa McMurray, director of User Services, said ITS is trying to minimize students panicking over their lost network connection by having them reconfigure before the deadline.
“That’s why we’re recommending that if your wireless devices are connected to msu1x we would like our users to go ahead and reconfigure their devices to eduroam so they won’t have any network interruptions and it will reduce the panic and the stress. We’re trying to get the word out so they’ll switch before October 15,” McMurray said.
According to McMurray, the reason many students have not switched over yet is they do not realize the credentials for logging in to eduroam are slightly different than those used to log into msu1x.
“To join msu1x you just use your netID and net password, but to connect to eduroam, most people don’t know you’ve got to use your firstname.lastname@example.org and your net password,” McMurrary said. “So they think they can’t get on to eduroam. Well, they can get on, they just aren’t using the right credentials.”
Stephen Creel, a senior computer science major who works with IT services, said the switch to eduroam is nothing but beneficial to the university and the students.
“There’s nothing but a net positive. Nothing but good things that are going to happen as a result of the switchover,” Creel said.
Creel cited actual experience with eduroam’s feature of users being able to connect to wireless networks at universities worldwide. His girlfriend, Emily Williamson, who studied at Oxford University in England over the summer, was able to seamlessly connect with the wireless network there.
“She was in the U.K., Oxford and they actually offer eduroam there, and at several universities over there in London. So, as soon as she got to Oxford, her phone, her laptop automatically connected to eduroam. (She) didn’t have to worry about it, didn’t have to worry about finding a guest Wi-Fi or talking with instructors trying to figure that out. That’s generally the case, there are thousands and thousands of universities that are partnered up with that program all across the United States and elsewhere,” Creel said.
Creel even experienced the seamless eduroam network connection for himself when he visited Williamson in England.
“There were places we managed to pick up eduroam near campuses while we were wandering about London,” Creel said.
Creel also cited another example of the benefits of eduroam. Over his college career, he has participated in several “hackathons,” events where computer science students face off in competition at universities around the Southeast, and he said the automatic network connection really sped up the process.
“Getting there and being able to get started without having to worry about getting the guest Wi-Fi—that kind of thing is just a huge benefit,” Creel said.
The only problem Lehnerer foresees occurring as a result of the switch, besides confusion with the slightly different login credentials, is people not realizing they have been disconnected from Wi-Fi and unknowingly consuming cellular data. He said sometimes it is necessary to forget the msu1x network on the user’s iPhone in order for it to connect to eduroam.
The IT department has several other projects in the works including a new student email domain, access to Microsoft Office Suites through the cloud for MSU students, access to new programs such as Microsoft Teams and a streaming program for broadcasting lectures to absent students.