Duke launches new wifi network, requires students to make the switch

<p>Duke OIT will require students to use the “Dukeblue” network this semester.</p>

Duke OIT will require students to use the “Dukeblue” network this semester.

Duke wifi users will soon need to switch to the new, secured “Dukeblue” network.

The current “Duke” network will be turned off in dormitories before students arrive back on campus. The change is part of a larger effort to improve online security at the University, according to administrators in Duke’s Office of Information Technology.

“Turning off the 'Duke' network in the dorms is a first step to phasing out the 'Duke' network across campus,” Richard Biever, the University's chief information security officer, wrote in an email.

The new network provides an encrypted internet connection that makes it more difficult for malicious users to intercept traffic. “Dukeblue” uses a professional version of the encryption protocol that some gaming systems, wireless printers and other devices might not be able to connect to, Biever explained. The University will offer another network—“Dukeopen”—that these devices can use.

The change will not affect the “visitor” network.

Although “Dukeblue” launched earlier this year, students were not required to begin using it. Biever noted, however, that approximately 5000 transitioned to the secure network.

“Campus IT departments have been working with faculty and staff to make the move to Dukeblue, and our goal is to turn have the 'Duke' network decommissioned at the end of the fall semester,” Biever wrote.

The shift will not improve wifi speeds on campus, Biever said, but OIT is working to upgrade wireless capabilities with technologies such as “fifth generation wifi” that will increase speeds.

OIT has worked with Housing, Dining and Residential Life to place posters in dormitories advising students of the change.

Biever said that in a few months, his department will also send students a list of other actions they can take to improve online security. These include protecting passwords through “LastPass,” using multi-step logins to websites and sharing documents online through Duke Box.

Adam Beyer | Digital Content Director

Adam Beyer is a senior public policy major and is The Chronicle's Digital Strategy Team director.


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