IT Center Blog

New SSID – RWTH institutes – in the WLAN

December 16th, 2022 | by

RWTH Aachen University offers wireless data communication (via WLAN) to all WLAN enabled devices throughout the university. This WLAN service is offered by WLAN access points.

Wifi Logo

Source: Freepik

These access points broadcast one or more SSID’s, which the devices can connect with and thus get internet access. The term SSID stands for Service Set Identifier and is simply the name of a WLAN network. RWTH offers many SSID’s such as:

  • eduroam for students, employees and guests of participating institutes
  • RWTH-guests for quests without an eduroam identification
  • RWTH-devices for IoT devices, e.g. measuring instruments and sensors

In addition, there have been isolated institutes WLAN which granted access to the local institute network, but are only available locally on a few access points. Overall this concept is very complex to maintain. This local binding by those access points leads to the fact that the access to the institute network is only possible via vpn  as soon as you are out of range of the access point. This is a severe obstacle, especially for lecturers and employees who are present in different buildings and need to change institutes.

The problem:
If you leave the institute, you are automatically moving away from the corresponding area of the access point. In order to continue to have access, you must be connected to the next one. But that is exactly what is not possible, without a VPN. For this reason a comprehensive solution was sought to overcome these technical limits. Some time ago the RWTH agreed for a change in the matter of SSID and introduced the new SSID “RWTH-institutes”. This is only offered to RWTH employees of registered institutions.

What Is the New SSID?

Within this newtwork, registered institutions are provided with their own ip range.
The technology in the new WLAN controller, which manage the access points, extend these further set boundaries, so that one concept can be offered across the university. Now, there is a new SSID campus wide, so every employee can gain access after the registration of the organisation. Thanks to the new SSID it is now possible for staff and lecturers to get access to the institute network without using vpn or eduroam. This also works without being directly on site at the same institute. Furthermore, due to the new concept, there are less special solutions, so access points can be operated in the same configuration. This leads also to a reduced effort in managing the access points.

How Can the New SSID Be Used?

In order to gain access to the new SSID, at first an application for the network must be submitted. Afterwards, the respective institution can register. This is necessary as there is no access authorisation and no usage is possible without it. Once there is an attempt to connect without the registration beforehand, a direct redirection to an error page follows.

Additionally, IPv6 addresses are required for RWTH-institutes. Since not all institutes have this address, our colleagues from the “Networks” department will conduct consultations in advance to work out how this concept can also be implemented at these institutes.
Please note that the registration is currently taking some time because of staff shortage, but will be proceeded as soon as possible.

Instructions on how to apply and register can be found on our IT Center Help web page.


Responsible for the content of this article are Sara Erdem and Thomas Böttcher.

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