NAC restricting College student Internet use

The recently implemented Network Access Control policies forbid cable modem and wireless access routers, forcing students to log onto the Internet via Policy Key. (image via tcnj.edu)
The recently implemented Network Access Control policies forbid cable modem and wireless access routers, forcing students to log onto the Internet via Policy Key. (image via tcnj.edu)

A campaign from the College’s department of Information Technology called Network Access Control (NAC) consists of a new set of policies that have begun to restrict the legitimate student use of the campus network.

My main issues with the NAC policies are the facts that students can no longer use routers, the mandatory connection into Policy Key and the forced installation of commercial antivirus software.

I am currently violating two NAC policies and if I could figure out a way around installing Policy Key, I would be disobeying all three.

My Internet access was cut off on Monday, Sept. 21 because I continued to use my router, despite a warning from the College’s Web site. I regained access once I disconnected my router.

According to the College’s Web site, my internet will be shut off again if I do not purchase antivirus software.

The NAC campaign came as a complete surprise to most students. After my initial setup was complete, the College system redirected me to a NAC page where I was prompted to install Policy Key.

The College never pre-warned students of these NAC policies, nor was Policy Key ever explained to us.

Even after pursuing the College’s Web site, I am still confused about the purpose of these programs, only that the “NAC device prevent a computer from becoming a victim of virus, spyware, spam, or trojans.” I am apprehensive about installing a piece of software I know nothing about.

The College gave students a deadline to install antivirus software and is prompting us with NAC pop-ups that offer links to Web sites for purchasing. I have never used antivirus software, nor do I feel the need to start now.

The Information Technology Web site provides a link where one can obtain free antivirus software.

However, the only software available, Sophos, is available exculsively “for faculty and staff.”

Attempting to download Sophos software prompts me to log in and my authentication fails each time, presumably because I am not faculty or staff. I am not willing to purchase commercial antivirus software when I do not see the need.

I use a wireless router to split my room’s single data port between my desktop and Xbox, and for convenient wireless for my netbook and for guests that bring laptops to my room.

I do not broadcast my wireless network name, use 128-bit security, and am careful not to allow any unauthorized users on the College network.

The College must change its strict policies and should not force mystery software on us, or require that we use commercial antivirus software to utilize the network.

If software installation is mandatory, the College should explain its exact purpose and should not force us to pay for it.

There are legitimate reasons to use routers. Until all residence halls become equipped with wireless access, students should not be faulted for creating solutions to the College’s network problems.

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