PSU unveils more secure GusNET

By Trent Becker

Pittsburg State University’s wi-fi system is getting a new layer of protection this summer to provide students, faculty and guests with a secure wireless network.

The new wi-fi system, termed GusNET, will replace the original open access wireless network to increase online security. GusNET became available June 2, with PSU officials hoping to use the summer session to work out all of the “hiccups.”

Security is key

Although the prior network will remain available until Aug. 25, students, faculty and staff will be required to log in with a username and password beyond that point. PSU’s chief information officer, Angela Neria, says security is more important now than ever, as PSU’s wireless Internet usage has increased considerably over time.

“In the last four years we’ve more than tripled the number of access points on campus,” Neria said. “So there’s no doubt that we’re transferring very sensitive data over a wireless network and since it’s open there is a risk that it could be intercepted.”

By requiring users to authenticate their identity with a username and password, officials will be better able to monitor wireless activity.

How to …

To access GusNET students simply use their GUS identification number and password while faculty and staff should use their computer login information. Conveniently, GusNET remembers devices, so it requires few instances when students will actually have to log in.

“There are two easy steps for students logging in for the first time,” Neria said. “One is to sync your password on GUS. The second step is to simply connect. That is, go to the wireless connection on that device or try to get on the Internet and you’re going to get some kind of message to connect.”

Staff at Gorilla Geeks have been holding setup sessions with students and faculty to aid with issues they might be experiencing. Information technology training facilitator, Becky Qualls, has been assisting in the majority of those setup sessions.

“We did a lot of testing beforehand,” Qualls said. “We found a few glitches, but we’ve discovered workarounds for almost everything.”

Gorilla Geeks supervisor, Colton Montgomery, has been on the GusNET development committee since the network’s initiation.

“Gorilla Geeks as a whole, in terms of GusNET, will be in user support mode,” Montgomery said. “Our major goal is to make sure we have tested most of the devices and have a plan of attack to troubleshoot if they’re not going to work.”

While the focus of GusNET is surrounded around security, future possibilities remain, Neria says.

“Our hope is that, by building this network, we will be able to put a printing solution in place where students can actually print wirelessly to a lab,” Neria says.

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