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Policy on Deployment, Operation, and Registration Requirements for Wireless Access Points on PennNet

Authority and Responsibility

Information Systems and Computing's Networking & Telecommunications organization is responsible for the operation of PennNet (Penn's data networks) and therefore has the authority and responsibility to specify requirements for any devices connecting to PennNet. This authority extends to device configuration management, as incorrect or conflicting information could adversely impact the operation of other network-connected devices.

Executive Summary

This policy specifies the requirements for Wireless Access Points (APs) and related wireless LAN infrastructure operating on PennNet. It also provides related "best practice" recommendations.


The purpose of this policy is to specify the requirements and limitations for wireless LAN operation on PennNet. While wireless LANs can provide a very efficient and convenient way to maintain access and provide some limited user mobility, their use under certain circumstances can cause significant problems (see Risk of Non-compliance, below).


Access Point or AP--A device that provides radio signal connectivity for wireless LAN clients and a wired-network connection, bridging the wireless and wireline networks.

Wireless Client--A network node using wireless radio signaling to reach a network through an association with a wireless AP.

Center Frequency or Channel--The specific frequency range at which a given AP and its wireless clients operates within the larger frequency range used by wireless Local Area Networks.

Risk of Non-compliance

IEEE standard 802.11 networks operate using unlicensed wireless spectrum. Given that, only a very small number of wireless APs can be in active operation within a given geographic area without creating performance-degrading interference for each other. Even given limited deployment, it is important to have the AP frequency settings configured in a non-interfering way. For this reason, coordination among those operating wireless LAN APs is essential.


This policy applies to any device acting as a wireless AP on PennNet and/or in any University of Pennsylvania building.

Statement of Policy

  1. Anyone running a wireless AP must register the AP with ISC Net-working & Telecommunications at ISC Networking & Telecommunications reserves the right to disallow the registration and operation of an AP if it would result in a conflict with another serving the same area.
  2. Authorized APs may need to be shut down or reconfigured at a later date if another academic or administrative unit in the area experiences interference in the relevant frequency ranges.
  3. All IP addresses handed out by an AP must be registered in accordance with the Policy on the use of PennNet IP address space at
  4. AP devices acting as DHCP servers must comply with the Policy on the Operation of DHCP Servers on PennNet at

Recommendations and Best Practices

The following related practices are strongly recommended by ISC Networking & Telecommunications.

  1. Check with your School or Center computing director before planning a wireless LAN. Plans may already exist for broader building-wide wireless LAN initiatives.
  2. Careful planning of wireless LANs, including use of a formal site survey process, can significantly reduce later frequency conflicts and network performance problems. ISC Networking & Telecommunications can provide assistance in wireless LAN site surveys upon request.
  3. Wireless LAN "center frequencies" should be chosen such as to avoid frequency overlap. The use of only channels 1, 6, and 11 in 802.11 and 802.11b wireless LANs can help to avoid overlap.
  4. In cases where access points have variable radio power levels, the minimal power level that provides the intended coverage should be chosen so as to limit interference with other devices operating in that frequency range.


A. Verification: ISC Networking & Telecommunications does not plan to actively police the network in an effort to discover unregistered or misconfigured APs, but will act on those discovered during the normal course of events in operating and/or troubleshooting the network.

B. Notification: Notification shall be made to the LSP and/or server administrator for the area whenever possible and practical.

C. Remedy: Remedy will normally be the removal of the access point (AP) from the network until such time as it can be brought into compliance. ISC Networking & Telecommunications will offer assistance to the LSP for the area in bringing AP configuration and registration into compliance.

D. Financial Implications: Charges may be assessed for time spent by ISC Networking & Telecommunications in troubleshooting problems attributable to a non-compliant or misconfigured AP. Please see the Policy on Troubleshooting Charges for Violations of PennNet Policies for information on additional fees that may be assessed to cover the costs incurred in troubleshooting related to violations of this policy.

E. Responsibility: Responsibility for remedy lies with those responsible for the AP and/or the local area network. In the vast majority of cases, the area LSP will have involvement in the implementation of the remedy.

F. Time Frame: Non-compliant servers must be remedied immediately to reduce risk of networking failures for other network users.

G. Enforcement: Please see the Policy on Computer Disconnection from PennNet at

H. Appeals: Please see the Appeals section of the Policy on Computer Disconnection from PennNet at


Policy on the use of PennNet IP address space at

Policy on the Operation of DHCP Servers on PennNet at

--Information Systems and Computing,
Networking & Telecommunications

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 12, November 13, 2001


November 13, 2001
Volume 48 Number 12

A 25-year-old CIS doctoral student in SEAS disappeared on November 2.
Three professors named to Goldstone Endowed Term Chairs for Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Lindback Award nominations are due November 30.
Community Involvement Recognition Award nominations are due on December 7.
The University community is invited to speak at the University Council's Open Forum; topics must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary by November 27.

The State of the University: an update on the strategic planning process.

The State of the University: a proposal to create Penn Medicine.

Fluent in Spanish? A resident director for an academic program in Seville is sought for next year
OF RECORD: Policy on Deployment, Operation and Registration Requirements for Wireless Access Points on PennNet.

OF RECORD: Policy on Requirements for Authenticated Access at Public Jacks, Public Kiosks, Wireless Networks and Lab Computers on PennNet.

Thanksgiving Break: Special checks/safety and security tips
125 Years of Women at Penn Celebration: portraits and pavers preserve accomplishments of generations of women.