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Wireless system changes

Becky Hogan | Thursday, November 13, 2008

The wireless Internet network at Notre Dame is changing from NOMAD to a new system called ND-secure, a switch the Office of Information Technology (OIT) said will make the network more secure.

“The NOMAD wireless network has served us well, but we’ve been striving to bring Notre Dame’s network in line with wireless industry’s best practices and move to a secure wireless network,” OIT security professional Mike Chapple said.

Notre Dame launched the NOMAD network in 2002, Chapple said. The main reason for the switch is to improve security, he said.

“[ND-secure] uses a secure login process so the information you send is protected from eavesdropping by other wireless network users,” he said.

The new network has encryption technology that NOMAD lacked.

“When you switch to the new network, you can rest assured that other users of the wireless network cannot eavesdrop on your communications. Unencrypted networks, such as NOMAD, do not offer the same capability,” Chapple said. “The encryption technology used on ND-secure is similar to that used by secure Web sites.”

Under the new system, Chapple said ND-secure is available across campus in the same places as NOMAD, and WiFi coverage on campus will not be affected by the change.

But the change is not automatic. Students and faculty must provide their NetID and password in order to join the new network.

“We encourage students, faculty and staff to switch immediately to gain the security benefits of the new network,” Chapple said.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make the change for Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems, along with a variety of other devices, are available at secure.nd.edu.

Chapple said it is important for all campus Internet users to switch to ND-secure to help protect “personal information from prying eyes.”

“We strongly encourage everyone to convert to the ND-secure wireless network as soon as possible. Making the switch should only take about five minutes and it will substantially increase the security of your network connection,” Chapple said.

Students can contact the OIT Help Desk at 574-631-8111 or can visit 128 DeBartolo Hall for assistance.

Chapple said the launch of the ND-secure network required over a year’s worth of planning and implementation work.

“Adding encryption to our wireless network required a substantial upgrade of Notre Dame’s wireless network equipment and the combined effort of a large number of network, security and system engineers,” he said. “We also consulted with a wide variety of campus groups, including departmental IT support personnel and Student Government.”