OIT Technology News: January 2014


OIT Technology News: January 2014

Residence Hall Wireless Upgrades Complete

We are pleased to announce that all Residence Halls have now received a complete wireless overhaul! The re-engineered design and installation process began in early September. The wireless access points were moved from the hallway ceilings into the rooms and the number of access points in each building increased drastically. All residents should now have a stable, strong and reliable connection to the wireless network! If you are having difficulty with any of your devices, please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357 or help@smu.edu.

Time's Running Out-- Good Bye Windows XP

Microsoft is discontinuing support of Windows XP in April 2014.  This means additional security patches and updates will no longer be available.  Thus, all IT managed Windows XP machines on campus must be upgraded or replaced in the next few months.  At this time, we still have a large number of machines to be upgraded.  If you are the primary owner of one of these machines, IT will be in contact with you in the next few weeks to schedule the installation. 

AirPlay and Chromecast on the Wireless Network

The AirPlay functionality on Apple devices makes it easy to share content from one device to another. However, it was designed for use in a home network environment. The service requires that all of the devices connect to the same subnet of addresses which is challenging in an enterprise wireless architecture that incorporates a number of subnets in each location! Additionally, there are some security requirements that need to be implemented so that only approved devices can share content with your device. (Just imagine anyone in your Residence Hall being able to push content to your Apple TV!) Fortunately, the software managing our wireless network now has a solution called AirGroup that will soon be able to meet both of these needs.

OIT has recently finished upgrading all of the wireless controllers so that this service can be implemented. The project for implementing AirGroup has just begun but the target date for implementation is Fall 2014.

The Chromecast device recently entered the retail market offering similar AirPlay features for the Android platform. Unfortunately, it runs into the same problems that the Apple devices do but has one additional security flaw. When the Chromecast is plugged in, it broadcasts an SSID (Service Set ID). Unfortunately, there is no security on that SSID. That allows anyone to connect but also allows anyone connected to reconfigure the Chromecast device. Development for a solution within AirGroup is underway but we do not have an estimated time frame for when these devices will be operable on our network.

Additional information will be available once the service is ready for use.