Wireless Glossary

Some quick definitions of random terms used on this site.

Wireless Gateway

The gateway is a server that controls all wireless access on campus. All wireless connections flow through the gateway, and the gateway ensures that all wireless users are authorized to use it.

In order to secure the wireless system here at Williams and to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the Williams Network, we have implemented a gateway server that sits between our users and our network. This server requires users to log in and authenticate themselves as members of the Williams community.

Insecure Applications

Insecure applications send passwords and data over clear text (unencrypted). Anyone with a wireless card can “sniff” traffic from insecure applications travelling over wireless airwaves and capture passwords/passphrases. Purple Air is the only available wireless network that will make secure the use of insecure applications, such as telnet, POP etc.

Secure Applications

Secure applications encrypt at least the authentication information (usernames and passwords/passphrases) and may also encrypt the data itself. This prevents others from capturing your login information.


Service Set IDentifier. All wireless devices are assigned an SSID (it’s basically a name). The SSID for the Williams Wireless Network is Eduroam.  We also others for Guests, and special purposes.