Wireless Definitions

Wireless Information (Definitions)

Bradley University offers wireless internet access to university students, faculty, staff, and guests in many locations on campus. Student housing (dorms) utilize wired connections.

SSID – Short for Service Set IDentifier

  • The SSID differentiates one wireless network from another, so all access points and all devices attempting to connect to a specific network must use the same SSID. An SSID is also referred to as a network name because essentially it is a name that identifies a wireless network.

Broadcast vs Non-Broadcast

Broadcast is when your system will automatically detect any wireless network within your current location. Bradley does not broadcast any of our wireless networks. Generally systems that are broadcast will state if they are secure or not, if not secure use caution.

Non-Broadcast is when a wireless network is near but detecting it does not automatically happen. When accessing any of the university’s wireless networks this is the case, they must be set up manually the first time. Once you have created a “profile” for the wireless network you will connect automatically the next time.

When an SSID is not broadcast it looks at all broadcast SSIDs first and tries to match to a network it knows about. Only if it does not find a match does it look for non-broadcast SSIDs.

Secure vs. Unsecure

A secure wireless network is one that uses encryption to secure communications. Sending sensitive information over the internet from a secured wireless network provides added security to that information. No network security option is failsafe. Be sure to continue to follow basic precautions when using the secure wireless network.

An un-secure wireless network has no encryption and the information sent is in what is called “clear text”, anyone receiving or intercepting it can read it. This form of network offers no security and should only be used when browsing the web.

Once you connect to a wireless network its name (profile) will appear in the Wireless Network Connection dialog. The graphic below demonstrates how a secure and unsecured SSID can appear when viewing Wireless Network Connections. The Aeris (non-broadcast) SSID appears because it was previously created and states that it is a “Security-enabled wireless network.” The library (broadcast) SSID is an “Unsecured computer-to-computer network”, this is not a Bradley network but a person who has set up their laptop to act like a wireless network.

Computer to Computer Wireless Network