Wireless Routers Banned in Dorm Rooms at Kent State

Students must use university-provided network cables to connect to the Internet in their rooms.


A student at Kent State University discovered the school's policy on wireless routers the hard way—he had his Internet shut off. The incident has pushed Kent State's rules for wireless use in dorm rooms into the spotlight, the Daily Kent Stater reports.

The Kent State student, identified in the report only as Andrew, wanted to make it easier to use his laptop in his room by going wireless, which would help him avoid using the only-so-long cables that the university provides for Internet access in dormitories. Instead, Andrew found out about Kent State's antirouter policy, which states that wireless network routers are prohibited in dormitories and, if "problematic router activity" is spotted in a dorm room, the school will shut down that room's Internet port, the report says.

Kent State's information technology staff released several prepared responses to the Daily Kent Stater's questions about the policy, explaining that wireless routers can interfere with the university's current wireless network, cordless phones, and a campus building's network connections. In plain English, the wireless routers can prevent other students and campus staff from accessing the Internet.

If a student is caught using the prohibited wireless routers, his or her Internet access will be blocked by the school until the router has been removed, the report says. But Andrew says that no one told him about the policy and that he wasn't warned that his Internet would be shut off.

Philip Thomas, the school's network design engineer, says that while students' Internet can be shut off and the routers can be removed, nothing prevents the students from establishing a new wireless router and starting the process all over again—which is exactly what Andrew has done.

"In my own mind, I'm not doing anything illegal by creating an access point," Andrew tells the paper. "It's the same thing they're doing in all the other dorms, but it's just not their certified 'whatever.' I'm just trying to get into the wall through the air."

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