Common MITnet connection problems for end users at MIT
April 18, 2019
Robyn Fizz
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Image: Bigstock, Copyright: Ledinuge

If you’re an MIT community member with a Kerberos ID, Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) strongly recommends that you use the MIT SECURE network for wireless connections. But what if you’re on MIT SECURE and the connection is poor? Why might this happen and what are your options?

A poor connection on MITnet can be caused by

  • A sticky client
  • An access point (AP) with problematic signal strength
  • Antenna issues
  • Consumer devices, such as voice-activated assistants and gaming systems

Here’s a quick look at each of these.

Sticky client

Your device can “stick” to the last access point it connected with, despite weakening signal strength. For an in-depth description of this issue, see What Are Sticky Clients.

Access points (APs) with problematic signal strength

An AP with a red or flashing LED (except if it’s green) has poor signal strength and will require adjustments by IS&T. Signal strength can also be an issue when radio frequencies can’t pass through brick walls or other dense material. To help minimize this type of interference, IS&T has been moving access points into rooms so that they’re closer to client devices.

Antenna issues

The antennas on APs provide optimal connectivity when they’re vertically aligned. Changing this alignment by aiming them at a specific area or device diminishes their effectiveness.

photo of access point

Consumer devices

Consumer devices like Alexa and the Fire TV Stick are designed to work on small wireless networks that serve a handful of devices. They aren’t generally compatible with enterprise-level technologies and protocols. To learn more, see Find out if that smart device isn’t quite smart enough for MIT’s wireless network.

Getting help

If you spot an AP with a red or flashing LED signal or with misaligned antennas, you can report the issue to the IS&T Service Desk. Please don’t try to realign antennas yourself.

If your device has a weak connection, go to the Knowledge Base article, Problems connecting to the wireless network at MIT. Write down the information requested in the “Reporting a problem to IS&T” section and then contact the IS&T Service Desk for help.