The University of Texas at Austin

Security Awareness

Secure Wireless on Campus

What you need to know to stay secure when going wireless.

If you like to work on your laptop from the Union, an outdoor café, or even just the West Mall, you’ve probably already used the “utexas” wireless network here on campus. It’s a convenient, secure way to access your e-mail, personal files, research data, or whatever else you have on your system.   

Information Technology Services (ITS) provides all students, faculty, and staff with both wireless and wired access to the Internet through the Public Network. In 2002, when the wireless network was first implemented, it was used by only 5 percent of the campus community. Now it is the fastest growing area of the network. To better protect campus members when they use wireless here at the university, ITS requires users to set up their systems to use 802.1x authentication with the “utexas” wireless network. Using “utexas” means your data is encrypted as it moves on the wireless portion of the university’s network. It is not encrypted, however, once it reaches the wired portion of the network.

It is important to remember you need to be careful when using any wireless network. ITS encourages you to use application-level security that employs standards such as https or ssh and to never enter personal information such as your name, address, or phone number on a Web page or in an IM chat that is not secured.  University Web pages that contain confidential information, for example, encrypt their data with “https.”  Many IM clients do not offer encryption, so you should check before assuming your IM chats are protected.

More information:

Learn more about 802.1X on the Public Network Web site. You’ll also find a wireless coverage map for our campus, a list of available services for departments, the university’s Public Network Policy, and much more.