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How do I get my router online?
September 30, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

My wireless router longs to throw off its university shackles. Help, MeFites!

My university network apparently doesn't like wireless routers. Which is annoying, of course. I've got a WiFi-only iPad, so it's getting irritating having to go to the library whenever I need wireless access.

Here's the crux of the matter- PCs automatically connect to the university broadband network when they're connected via Ethernet cable, nearly instantly. No password, no authorisation. But when the router's connected, it powers on, providing a signal, but provides no connection to the Net.

Is there a way of tricking the network into treating the wireless router like a PC, or getting it to allow the router to connect? Could really use some help here- technical queries online have only led to tedious lectures by sysadmins about network security policies.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
 
technical queries online have only led to tedious lectures by sysadmins about network security policies.

If the policy is "no wireless routers" that's unlikely to fly. However, can you use a laptop (anything that has an ethernet port and a wireless card) to share your internet connection? So instead of tricking the network into thinking the router is a PC, you'll be legitimately attaching a PC to the ethernet cable and then sharing out the connection.
posted by jessamyn at 11:36 AM on September 30, 2010


You probably can get away with setting your wireless router up as a switch. Google on your router's model number plus "wireless bridge" or "wireless switch." You won't be violating your university's policy as it is no longer a router ... it is a switch.
posted by geoff. at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2010


Have you tried logging into the router's settings pages and having it clone the MAC address from your laptop? If it's a linksys router: while connected through wifi or ethernet (but not connected to the university's network), type 192.168.1.1 into your browser's address bar. The default password, if you haven't manually changed it before, is "admin" (leaving the userid blank). Click over to the "MAC address clone" tab, click the "clone your PC's MAC" button, and click "save settings" on the bottom. If you have a different brand of router (or different firmware than mine), I'm sure the equivalent steps are a mere google search away.
posted by nobody at 11:49 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The tedious lectures have a point: adding an unauthorised router to a university network can get you fired. The way to get a wireless access point is to ask your IT department for one.
posted by zamboni at 11:55 AM on September 30, 2010


If the PC is not running any NAC (network admission control) endpoint client software on it, you have probably run into a MAC filter. You can clone your PC's 100/1000BaseT NIC's MAC address at the risk of severely pissing off the sysadmins.
posted by thewalrus at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2010


You can setup a ad hoc computer-to-computer network between your laptop and ipad, here is how to do it on a OSX system. The same thing should be possible with a PC system.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2010


"no wireless routers" means "no wireless networks that we don't run."

The massive wireless network we run at work actively searches for rogue access points. People that plug in Linksys routers into their desks would do better walking into their boss's office begging to be fired.

If the school has a no-wireless policy, running one is a really easy way to have bad things happen to you. Ask them to set up an AP near where your devices can see it. Problem solved.

Signed,

A Pro IT Security Person
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


ditch the WAP. use connectify to share the wifi on your computer. (note: requires windows 7 and a wifi card on the computer) i use this to give my psp and blackberry wifi from hotesl and stuff when i travel.


-c
posted by chasles at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake has this one nailed down. There's a reason that at the school I went to (and now work at), there are two servers named GhostRecon1 and 2. Ports get shut off when those bad boys fire up.
posted by deezil at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2010


For all the people suggesting to Internet Share his computer, please know that this is just making the computer the router.

The Linksys blue boxes and brethren are also computer, just small and shaped like how you'd imagine a "router" would look like. Doing either of things things would violate the policy.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2010


But when the router's connected, it powers on, providing a signal, but provides no connection to the Net.

I'm assuming you're a student. The network detected a router and disabled it. This isn't mac address authentication. You can clone your mac address but I imagine that'll lead to your laptop being banned as well. You'll have a fun time explaining your Lucy-esque shenanigans to the helpdesk who will probably forward you to the dean of students before they'll unblock you.

Could really use some help here- technical queries online have only led to tedious lectures by sysadmins about network security policies.


Maybe you should have thought about this before buying a wireless only device where you have no wifi.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which school do you work at ?
posted by majortom1981 at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2010


I mean which school do you go to.
posted by majortom1981 at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2010


In some places I've worked, there have been similar problems with internet connectivity, and people have used Windows internet connection sharing to get reliable wireless. (after the 'approved' Cisco gold brick we paid IT $2000 for proved so unreliable as to be unusable)

However, this may be a violation of official policies, so if you get caught doing it you may be subject to punishment. Not violating policies is one way of doing this.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:22 PM on September 30, 2010


The network sharing solutions mentioned may require administrative access on the computer that's going to do the sharing. If it's your system, that's not a problem. If it's a university system, it is probably locked down.

When you say "PCs automatically connect to the university broadband network when they're connected via Ethernet cable" do you mean that you can plug into a network jack with your personal laptop and get access, or that the university owned computers can connect to the network?

If the latter, the network may be issuing IP addresses by MAC address, which would explain why your rogue router can't get an IP. There's no good (as in "justifiable to the sysadmin when you get caught") way around this. Cloning the MAC address just tells the sysadmin that you knew you knew you were circumventing the rules.

If personal systems can connect, there's another possibility: the network jack you're using may not be live. Can you connect through that jack using a computer?

As has been said, you really need to talk to the sysadmins. If you have a decent business reason for connecting your iPad, they should be willing to help out. If not, they should explain why. If you're not satisfied with the answer and you're willing to rattle cages to get what you want, move up the chain of command.
posted by donpardo at 5:59 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Presumably the no wifi policy thing is about securing the school's network. That's reasonable, and you should be mindful of it. However, you can probably conform to the spirit of the rule while still getting connectivity for your device.

Many wifi routers have controllable power level, and if you dial it down to the minimum you will reduce the range of broadcast, and drastically reduce the possibility of getting noticed by snooping administrators.



This isn't mac address authentication. You can clone your mac address but I imagine that'll lead to your laptop being banned as well.

So, you meant to say "This IS mac address authentication" then?

Maybe you should have thought about this before buying a wireless only device where you have no wifi.

Do network administrators even know what kind of fascistic monsters they become..
posted by Chuckles at 9:24 AM on October 8, 2010


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