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The Problem with School Wireless Network Passcodes

Written by Danny Mareco Danny Mareco | May 27, 2011

School Wireless Networks need to be controlled because there are way to many opportunities for improper use of the network from guests, staff or students. In this article, we explain the OLD WAY schools would use passcodes for accessing the school wireless network, how that system lacked and how we can help you gain back control of the users on your school wireless network.

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The way to control users in the past was to have individuals connect to a specific SSID that had specific restrictions in place. On the wired side, roles were handled with a radius server which applied restrictions depending on the users credentials.  This meant when a student would log onto a computer in the library, they were given the "student" role and respective access. Through this role, the student was required to log onto the “student” SSID which has a pre-shared key. The problem with this is that this student has the ability to give the same key to their friends and use for unauthorized devices. Changing the key is very difficult because you have to alert every user of the change and the process of dismantling security begins again. 

The same holds true when the curtious student offers to help the teacher with her computer. The staff SSID key is very easily discovered and next thing you know students are all over the staff network.

New wireless technologies are able to broadcast 1 SSID for an entire school and check credentials like the wired network for access.  When John Smith logs on, a captive portal will pop up and ask for a user name and password, the answers are back checked against the radius server and the specific role is given out.  The old way of having a specific wireless network for the staff, students, custodians, or administrators is a thing of the past! 

For more information about integrating your radius server into the wireless network please contact us, we are happy to be your resource for wireless networking!

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