Georgetown University Information Services launched GURegistered, a new pilot wireless network, which allows residents to connect devices that do not support secure protocols, in conjunction with the Georgetown University Student Association on Feb. 9.
The network’s establishment comes at the heels of December’s announcement of a five-year, $27.5 million UIS-led overhaul of the university’s Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Students, faculty and staff may now connect previously unsupported devices such as gaming systems, television, streaming services and personal printers, among others. The residents of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall and Village A apartments will serve as subjects to the service’s pilot program.
According to Vice President for Information Services and Chief Information Officer Judd Nicholson, the new platform will provide an entirely new space for unsecure devices separate from academic data systems.
“UIS is piloting a new technology from Cisco that enables us to create a separate open network to support these devices without reducing the security on GuestNet or SaxaNet,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson highlighted the separation of university data and personal data and said it was very important for the new network to be well-regulated.
“The new option for these devices is only available to current Georgetown students, faculty and staff for personal use that does involve personal or university data,” Nicholson said. “GURegistered traffic is separate and is closely monitored.”
To use GURegistered, Arrupe and Village A residents must first register their devices online with their NetID credentials. Users are limited to three registered devices at a time to allow all residents to share the network.
Upon introducing the new service, UIS alerted users about potential security concerns with the network, as it does not provide any additional form of security beyond that provided by the devices themselves.
“Please note that since GURegistered is not a secured network, the data is not encrypted, so a hacker could potentially listen in on a conversation, obtain personal information, or read your email or anything you print,” UIS wrote onthe university’s webpage.
GUSA Technology Chair Yafet Negash (COL ’19) said that the student voice was strongly considered in the formulation of GURegistered, and GUSA worked closely with UIS in developing the Wi-Fi network.
“GUSA has been working very closely with UIS to address the issue of devices that are unsupported by Georgetown’s wireless networks, and this limited pilot program is a result of that cooperation,” Negash said. “We were involved in the documentation, site selection and launch phases of the project.”
According to GUSA Chief of Staff Ari Goldstein (COL ’18), collaboration with UIS was specifically the work of the Student Technology Advisory Board.
“STAB works closely with administrators from University Information Services on projects and issues related to Blackboard, MyAccess, SaxaNet and other student tech services,” Goldstein said.
According to Nicholson the university has the opportunity to take advantage of recent technological advances to expand and improve network capabilities on campus.
“We have the opportunity to address foundational needs, take advantage of modern network capabilities and build an agile platform well-positioned for future innovation,” Nicholson said.
Negash encouraged students to actively participate in the network and engage with GUSA and UIS to improve the system moving forward.
“I strongly encourage those students to make use of it and provide their feedback so that we can deliver a better product for the whole campus when the time comes,” Negash said.
Goldstein said he was excited at how the STAB’s engagement with technology services on campus yielded results.
“Yafet has been working hard to advocate for improved campus tech over the past year, so while this is only a pilot program, it’s an exciting step forward nonetheless,” Goldstein said.
Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall resident Carly Conway (COL ’19) said that she is particularly excited for the inclusion of streaming service capabilities within the new network.
“The new system allows more readily available access to more resources, since we can now stream news networks from smart TVs, as well as watch our favorite TV shows,” Conway said. “It would be great to see every residence hall have this type of system as well one day.”