For Alumni> UniWide Wireless> Accessing UniWide

Accessing UniWide

Access to the UniWide wireless network is available to all current UNSW students. Please note that UniWide access is not available to the general public.

To access UniWide, you will need a properly configured 802.11a/b/g/n (WiFi) compatible laptop computer or mobile device. Most new laptops and handheld wireless devices come with in-built 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi support. You can also purchase a Wireless Network Interface Card and install it into an existing laptop. See the section on Wireless Cards further down this page.

You will need to manually configure your mobile device to be able to join the UniWide wireless network. Setup instructions are available on the UniWide home page.

UniWide access points

What is wireless access point or a base station?
An access point or base station is a piece of equipment within the wireless network infrastructure that acts as an antenna for the communication of wireless signals. The access point also bridges your laptop or mobile device to the UniWide network.

What is a wireless hotspot?
A wireless hotspot is the area around an access point where there should be a good wireless signal.

What is a SSID?
SSID stands for Service Set Identifier. The SSID displays the network name of a wireless network. The SSID for the UniWide service is uniwide (all in lowercase).

What areas currently have the Wireless access points?
Kensington and COFA Paddington campuses have coverage. See the UniWide Coverage pages for current indoor and outdoor locations.

How far from a base station can I be and what is the signal range?
The range depends on the level of interference, on the number of users in your location and the demands of the application on the network. In an open space, with minimal interference, the maximum effective range is 100m.

What are some of the causes of interferences with wireless signals?
The wireless signal will increasingly be degraded in areas that:

  • have walls between your computer and the access point
  • are densely populated
  • have other radio signal transmissions
  • in overcast or humid weather
  • are near other radio frequency emitting equipment such as Microwaves, Laser printers etc.
Compatible Mobile Wireless Devices

Most mobile devices such as laptops, PDAs, wireless handheld devices and smartphones sold in the last few years should be able to access the UniWide wireless network. Most recently manufactured laptops come with built-in wireless support and many older ones support wireless with the addition of a PCMCIA wireless card or wireless Network Interface Card (NIC).

Devices accessing the wireless network must be 802.11a/b/g/n (WiFi) compatible and must be able to perform PEAP or WPA authentication. These are general requirements and UNSW IT provides no guarantee that a particular model or type of device will necessarily work with the UniWide wireless network.

PDA, Smartphone and Other Support

Some higher-end PDAs, wireless handheld devices and smartphones support wireless access using PEAP authentication. Mobile devices that do not yet support WPA2-Enterprise authentication can still access the network by using a combination of WPA-Personal and Web-based authentication.
View the UniWide Mobile Device setup page.

Supported Operating Systems

Most modern operating systems support 802.11 wireless access and usually come with an in-built WPA supplicant that supports PEAP authentication. The latest versions of Microsoft Windows, Appleā€™s Mac OS X and Linux are all supported on the UniWide wireless network. For detailed help on how to configure these systems, please see the wireless setup guides on the UniWide home page.

Legacy Operating System Support
Legacy operating systems such as Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Mac OS 8-9.x may work with UniWide but are not supported.

Wireless Cards

How do I know whether my computer has onboard wireless card?
Check the documentation that came with your computer system for a description of the model. It should list as one of the components an IEEE 802.11b/g/n or 802.11a/n compatible wireless card. These standards (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n) are collectively known as WiFi. If it does not have either one of these two types of card, then you will have to purchase a separate wireless card.

Where can I purchase wireless cards?
WiFi compatible wireless Network Interface Cards suitable for accessing UniWide can be purchased on campus from:

- CompNow computer store (in the Quadrangle)
- UNSW Bookstore (below the Quadrangle)

Alternatively, you can purchase a wireless Network Interface Card from an off-campus store but ensure that it is IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n (WiFi) compatible. Please note that the IT Service Centre, COFA CSU and the UNSW Library do not sell, lease or loan wireless cards.

Is there a preferred brand of cards that I should buy?
Most IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi compliant cards should be able to work.

Does my wireless card need to support 802.11 a & b & g & n?
No, your wireless card only needs to support either 802.11a or 802.11b or 802.11g or 802.11n for you to be able to connect to the wireless network, however many wireless cards currently will support all three standards.

How do I install the Wireless card?
The Cards come with manuals or documentation. Read them carefully and make sure that your system and the card are compatible.

Most installations are fairly simple and all cards come with step by step instructions for a variety of operating systems. Most new operating systems, such as Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 will automatically install the drivers after inserting the card.
If for some reason you are having difficulty installing the card, contact the IT Service Centre for help.


Can I register a fixed IP address on the UniWide Network?
No, you cannot because the IP addresses are allocated dynamically by the server.

Can I replace my wired connection or have wireless installed instead?
No. The UniWide Wireless service is provided primarily for students to enhance their learning experience whilst at UNSW, by providing fast and easy access to Internet resources.

Can Residential Colleges connect to the UniWide Wireless network or have access points installed in the Colleges?
No. The Residential Colleges have access to the UniWeb per-user billing system that provides high speed, reliable Internet access.