Find out if that smart device isn’t quite smart enough for MIT’s wireless network
March 5, 2019
Phil Johnson
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Picture of a Google Home Mini with four colored light on top lit up.
Image: Phil Johnson

You may be into cool devices like voice-activated assistants, smart light bulbs, and gaming systems. These gadgets can make life easier and more entertaining. But there’s a catch. They almost never work on large enterprise wireless networks, such as those at MIT.

That may seem counter-intuitive, but here’s the deal. These devices are designed to work on small wireless networks that serve a handful of devices, like most home networks. They are not generally compatible with the enterprise-level technologies and protocols (such as WPA2-Enterprise) needed to support and secure thousands of connected devices. In fact, it is the technical simplicity of these home devices that helps to make them affordable for most consumers.

For in-depth details, see two articles from Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) in its Knowledge Base: Will my home device work at MIT? and Which devices cannot connect to MIT SECURE? FYI, potential workarounds exist for wireless printers and Apple TVs.

Here’s the bottom line, though, when deciding which devices to use at MIT: unless IS&T specifies otherwise, assume that a smart home device will NOT work on MIT’s wireless networks.

If you have questions or concerns, contact the IS&T Service Desk.