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Penn State Guests Get Wi-Fi…At A Cost

Luckily for Penn State students, our campus is almost completely blanketed with wireless internet.  Visitors and guests to Penn State have not been so lucky… Until Now.  Penn State has partnered with AT&T to provide wireless internet at the University Park and Altoona campi campuses.  The Vice-Provost of Information Technology explains the new service:

The addition of AT&T’s wireless Internet service will allow our visitors to stay connected to their e-mail and other Internet services while on campus.

In order to access the AT&T network you need to be in a location that offers the network connection.  The following is a list of offered locations:

  1. Academic Activities
  2. Academic Projects
  3. Coal Utilization Lab
  4. Computer Building
  5. Deike
  6. Earth-Engineering Science
  7. Hosler
  8. Research East
  9. Special Services
  10. Steidle
  11. Telecommunications
  12. USB 2
  13. Walker

Once you are in one of the participating locations, look for the wireless network named “attwifi” (without the quotes).  att-wifi-card1Open up your favorite web browser (use Firefox, it’s better) and you will be presented with an AT&T login screen.  You’ll then pay with a credit card, prepaid coupon or sign in to the account you’ve created previously.  Visitors can pick up prepaid coupons that are each good for a 24-hour pass.  The coupons can buy them in packs of 1 ($5.99), 5 ($27.50), 25 ($125), 50 ($225), 100 ($400), 500 ($1,625) and 1000 ($3000).  That’s up to 24,000 hours of wireless interwebs!  Be careful though, any AT&T wireless prepaid coupon bought at a location other than in the Penn State Computer Store and on their website will not work with the system.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Penn State’s wireless system due to the fact it relies on a VPN, Penn State has made the right choice in separating guests from Penn State students and faculty.  It’d be a big security risk if people other than faculty and students were allowed on Penn State networks.  Why isn’t the service free?  I can assume that it all comes down to money.  AT&T likely pays Penn State to set up wireless in their buildings.  A separate AT&T network also keep guests out of the Penn State network leaving more internet for those of us that pay the University.

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About the Author

Steve S.

Steve Sharer is a Security and Risk Analysis major and an overall good guy. He brings Onward State readers enticing posts such as "Question of the Day" and "Campus Explorer" and will continue to do so until he becomes the President of the United States of America in 2024.

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