University tests mobile device wireless

GW’s Division of Information Technology is rolling out an opt-in program designed to test a simpler way for mobile users to access GWireless.

Community members with Apple or Android-based mobile devices can choose to join the program and use the new GW1X system, which is currently in a beta testing phase, Rachel Blevins, marketing and communications manager for the IT division, said. GW1X is based on a wireless networking standard called 802.1X.

The new program tests a new authentication method for GWireless that allows devices to connect without a special application called a VPN client that many students use to connect from their laptops. That application, provided by GW, does not work on mobile devices.

The University was mentioned in several national stories last April when new outlets reported that GW’s IT division did not support the use of GWireless with the iPad or iPhone – though wireless access with these devices was technically possible.

Those interested in participating in the test can sign up on the IT division’s website. The program currently supports Apple mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android-based mobile devices.

The IT division warns test participants that the system may be brought down for maintenance and changes without prior warning. In addition, GW is not providing its full range of support services for the beta test system, but a message board on the program’s website will allow users to discuss issues.

Questions posted by test participants are answered by a Student Technology Services technician. Most questions asked thus far deal with setup and connection issues.

Test participants can use the GW1X system at most GWireless locations across campus, with the exception of the law school because it runs its own wireless network.

The IT division plans to extend the pilot program to additional platforms in the spring of 2011, Blevins said.

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