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Cal Poly has now gone wireless with Mustang Mobile Computing, a service that allows students to receive free wireless Internet access with any wireless enabled laptop from 160 access points spread across campus and in the residence halls.

Although a laptop’s wireless card will automatically pick up the signal while on campus, the network will not be accessible unless users register their computers.

Registering a computer is a simple process. On the first floor of building 14 is the Information Technology Services (ITS) support desk. Upon request, the support desk will issue an access number that is individual to each computer, called a MAC address (machine address control). This number will allow a laptop to access the network in “about a day,” according to the Johanna Madjedi, director of communications and computing services.

“The campus network started in the University Union and the Kennedy Library with at least four access points,” in 2001 said Madjedi.

The network is not currently encrypted, so if users plan to send sensitive information over the wireless system, they should use some sort of encryption software.

There are currently 6,258 registered laptops at Cal Poly, with 1,200 of those registered the first week of classes. Aaron Abitia, a network analyst for Cal Poly’s Network Administration, said that most new registered users are probably freshmen.

One of the limitations of wireless Internet on campus is that it is a shared medium.

“Everyone dives into the same pie, so speed can be slow if a lot of users are trying to access the network all at once,” Abita said.

Over the next two quarters, the network may be adding security encryption to make the network more secure.

The network will be slowly gaining more features and improvements, including improved residence hall access. Campus users can look forward to an even better network in the coming quarters.

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