Wireless Network Services in METU-A Brief History
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The past of wireless networking at Middle East Technical University goes back to the year 2000 and is a first among the universities in Türkiye. The first 802.11b network, set up with point to point mode, was used to establish connection to the campus backbone at points where conventional connection i.e. copper or fiber cabling was physically impossible. Furthermore, a set of wireless network equipment was kept at the CC building in case of emergencies and it was used to provide a temporary connection to the backbone until the necessary repairs were carried out. The set was used in the year 2002 for the Guest House whose optic cable was damaged and the connection was made in a couple of hours via the wireless network.

In the year 2003, a wireless network service was set up as the first working group mode on the roof of the Central Engineering building to provide network connection for mobile users. Simultaneously, MAC address based identity verification system operating on RADIUS was established in order to prevent access to the network without identity verification. The identity verification system, which initially was registered on hard copy forms - by users personally applying to the CC Network Support Group - was later carried out on digital medium. The identity verification has then turned into a system in which the users register themselves at the http://netregister.cc.metu.edu.tr address and the registration is activated instantaneously.

In the year 2005, with the increase in the number of wireless network clients, the wireless network service operational at the METU local area network as an existing work group mode has been extended to cover almost all departments and units (With the advent of this widespread service, the wireless network device transmitting on the roof of the MM building was put out of service). At every department or unit, the areas and points where mobile users were dense were determined and 802.11a/b/g wireless network devices were installed and coverage areas were formed. For the time being, besides all the departments, some of the dormitories, all the floors and halls of the Library and Documentation Directory, all the halls in the Cultural and Convention Centre, and both guest houses under coverage of the wireless network system. You may reach a map of the wireless network access points from the http://www.bidb.odtu.edu.tr address CC Groups -> Network Groups connection (The 802.11a wireless network service is not campus wide, but is only in use where there are devices supporting this standard. 802.11a devices providing wireless network services are given on the map at the link above).

The METU users without an interface to connect to the wireless network can temporarily barrow an external wireless network interface card by submitting their ID card at the Reserve section in the library and from the computer coordinator in the Cultural and Convention Centre. Since these cards are already authorized and registered with the identity verification system it is not necessary to conduct any other procedure.

The users who are visitors in METU can temporarily register their MAC addresses at the guest houses (The one behind İş Bank and the Aysel Sabuncu Life Centre) or the Cultural and Convention Centre and make use of the wireless network by applying to the computer coordinators of those units and getting themselves registered.

At present, there is at least one wireless network transmission for each wireless network device and for the wireless network devices at certain points; this number goes up to two. Each device performs a wireless network transmission named ng2k and at some regions in addition to that, another transmission named eduroam is also active. The ng2k operates without any password. The eduroam transmission, on the other hand, operates under 802.1x protocol RADIUS based security system. The users who wish to make use of this network use the central system user code and password dual to get access to this network after making the necessary settings.

In order to make use of the eduroam transmission, which is encrypted, it is recommended for Microsoft based operating systems to use the "SecureW2" software. In order to ease use and automate the settings a Windows XP installation package has been devised. It may be downloaded from the link at the http://eduroam.metu.edu.tr address. The downloaded files should be unzipped to a directory and the installation must be started, the file will do all the settings itself. Support for other operating systems is at the http://www.securew2.org address.


The wireless network being used in the campus is a part of the eduroam project which is widely used among educational institutions in Europe and it enables the free circulation of the staff of member institutions in the wireless network. Within the scope of this project the staff of member institutions visiting the others can easily access the wireless network as if they are accessing their own wireless network. As of May 2008 the Turkish institutions which are within this project are METU, Ankara University, Çanakkale March 18 University. You may visit the http://eduroam.metu.edu.tr address for further information.

Suna Yılmaz

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