WSUV Wi-Fi is secure. WSUV Guest Wi-Fi is not.

The following is an Open Letter from WSU Vancouver’s Information Technology CIO, Michael Stamper.

The new campus WSUV WiFi is recommended for all students, faculty, and staff seeking a safe network experience. Because the secure network is also 10x faster than the guest network, anyone seeking a secure, fast, and reliable network experience at WSU Vancouver should choose the WSUV WiFi network. Find out more at http://vancouver.wsu.edu/wifi.

Network safety and security is on many people’s minds these days … and for good reason. The importance of securely connecting computers, phones, tablets, watches, and other devices continues to expand each year. Using an unsecure WiFi network exposes unencrypted communications and data to easily be captured by another device on the same network. This security threat is common at many public networks such as those found at coffee shops.

For Fall 2015, WSU Vancouver launched several improvements to the WiFi experience including the ability for devices to use a certificate to automatically and securely re-connect to the secure WSUV WiFi.

The certificate installation process has raised several questions and I commend students, faculty, and the community for being cautious and aware of the need for safe surfing. These type of questions are being used to create a FAQ and update guides found online at http://vancouver.wsu.edu/wifi.

The WSUV WiFi certificate system (Cloudpath’s XpressConnect) was chosen by WSU Vancouver after an extensive search of systems used at other universities and industries such as hospitals or research organizations that require secure networks. Certificate-secured wireless is more secure than the previous method on campus that used only a username/password because of the improved encryption between the wireless access point and the device.

WSUV WiFi allows our campus community to use a secure system with easy automatic access while not storing a person’s password on their device. The certificates installed through XpressConnect allow this level of security for all members of the WSU Vancouver community and the myriad of operating systems on the 2500+ devices connecting daily: iOS 32.8%, Windows 30.5%, Mac OS 20.8%, Android 12.8%, Chrome 2%, and Linux 1%.

WSU respects the privacy of our network users. WSU does retain the right to monitor system traffic for security or to limit bandwidth utilization of some activities as necessary to protect and enhance the mission of Washington State University; however, the certificate-secured wireless connection used for WSUV WiFi does not create a new threat for scanning of hard drives or accessing applications on a device.

Finally, the Cloudpath XpressConnect server and related technology is based on open source software, but uses proprietary tools to configure existing open protocols managed by a device’s operating system; however, XpressConnect is not required to connect to WSUV WiFi. Users can download and install certificates manually for their device if they have knowledge of the device’s WiFi configuration and use of 802.11x certificates. For the majority of students and faculty, using an application like XpressConnect basically simplifies the certificate configuration process on their way to a more secure and faster experience on WSUV WiFi.

If any student, professor, or member of the community has any questions about the safety or security of the WSUV WiFi network, please contact me directly at michael.d.stamper@vancouver.wsu.edu. For technical questions or assistance contact the Vancouver IT Help Desk at 360-546-9770 from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday or 8:00 – 5:00 p.m. Friday. Walk-in support to help configure use of WSUV WiFi is also available in CLS 219 from 8:00 – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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