Changes Coming to our Wireless Network!

SMU Community,

In the Summer of 2017 Samuel Merritt University and Quest performed a Wireless LAN Infrastructure Assessment and Spectrum Analysis to determine the potential factors causing negative user experiences while on the Wireless Network.  Quest’s Wireless LAN Infrastructure Assessment service was designed to identify and document gaps in coverage, roaming, bandwidth, interference, and document the radio types used throughout the Samuel Merritt University facilities.

Over the next several weeks the Network Services team will complete necessary changes to the environment to assure the highest level of service to the users of our wireless network and improve speed and stability. These upgrades and changes were undertaken in direct response to feedback received from the SMU Community in both climate surveys.

As a result of the assessment one of the immediate changes to be made will be the disabling of the 2.4 GHz band throughout the environment. This restriction only affects older devices because they are using outdated technology that uses the 802.11 b/g protocol. There are a limited amount of channels available on this band which can become heavily saturated with users and cause disconnects. This band uses slower speeds compared to the other available 5 GHz band.

Newer devices use the 802.11 a/n/ac protocol which connects to the 5 GHz band that has faster speeds and a more reliable and stable connection.

On April 1st, 2018, Samuel Merritt University will no longer support 2.4 GHz devices. The primary differences between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless frequencies are range and bandwidth. 5 GHz provides faster data rates at a shorter distance. 2.4 GHz offers coverage for farther distances, but may perform at slower speeds.


To Determine 5 GHz Network Band Capability:

Check on Windows:

1. Search "cmd" in the Start Menu.
Windows Command Prompt Launch

2. Type "netsh wlan show drivers" in the Command Prompt & Press Enter.
Windows Command Prompt
3. Look for the "Radio types supported" section.
Command Prompt Output
Determining Factor:

If the network adapter supports network mode 802.11ac:

  • The computer supports both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz - your network capability IS Dual-Band Compatible.

If the network adapter supports network mode 802.11n:

  • The computer MAY OR MAY NOT have 2.4 GHz and 5GHz network capability and be Dual-Band Compatible.* 

If the network adapter does not support either of these network modes,it IS NOT Dual-Band Compatible.

Referenced from: Linksys.


5-GHz Network Band Capability 

Check on a Mac

1.Click the Apple icon located in the top-left portion of the screen and select About this Mac.

Mac OS Apple Icon
2. Click System Report on the menu displayed.

MacOS High Sierra screen
3. On the Left-hand side column, scroll down options until you see Network, then select the Wi-Fi option underneath it. Look for the "Supported PHY Modes: " selection.

4. IF... the computer supports 802.11a/n/ac Wireless Standards,
 THEN... the computer has the 5 GHz Network Band Capability. 

If the network adapter supports network mode 802.11n:

  • The computer MAY OR MAY NOT have 2.4 GHz and 5GHz network capability and be Dual-Band Compatible.* 

Referenced from: Linksys

* With 802.11n, its capability is unknown, and in order to find out you must attempt to connect to a 5 GHz connection. If you are unable to connect, then you cannot use it, but if you are able to, then you can. It has to do with the hardware manufacturer, because they do not specify on 802.11n whether they have included the additional parts needed in the chip to connect to 5 GHz. If you want 5 GHz compatibility and do not have it, you will need to physically replace your wireless card, purchase a USB external network adapter, or purchase a new computer.

All Samuel Merritt University issued devices are dual band.

If you are a personal device and find that your device can no longer detect any of our wireless networks, then most likely you have an older device. There’s no need to replace it. All you need is to purchase a USB wireless adapter that supports the 802.11a/n/ac protocol. Which roughly cost about $10. They’re quick and easy to install yourself. These can be purchased online or at your local computer store.

Please contact the Service Desk if you require assistance.

Request more information

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