From the FAS Computing Knowledge Base: Am I allowed to set up my own wireless access points on the FAS Network (in my room, office, etc.)?
Decent Signal

Students and residential affiliates are not permitted to connect wireless access points (WAPs), including Apple AirPort base stations, to the FAS Network. Connecting a WAP to the network is a violation of the rules and regulations governing computing at FAS, and will lead to the immediate termination of the network connection and possible disciplinary action.

The main reasons for this policy are:

* Cross-talk issues. Computer Services has set up official WAPs in public spaces of many campus buildings and dormitories, and we have determined that cross-talk and frequency interference from other access points can be problematic for these official WAPs.

I have configured my Thinkpad so that Fn-F5 (the standard Thinkpad wireless radio configuration key command) toggles the wireless radio, so my computer will not be constantly exchanging packets with any wireless network it happens to detect. I used the default implementation (turning off the transmission power to the radio, as opposed to turning the radio off completely), so I can still detect wireless signals (if I changed this to turn the entire radio off, it would refuse to come back on). Occassionally, I will receive a slight signal, but it almost always disappears within five minutes or so. Therefore, I believe I have some reason to be suspicious about the fact that I consistently get strong wireless signals in the early morning. Theoretically, it could be the NOC preparing to add wireless network access to Dunster (as part of the eventual plan to have wireless access in all dorm rooms), but it is unlikely that they are working at 3am on Sunday morning. Occam's Razor suggests that wireless interference in the area just went down drastically, as I am seeing an official AP with a reasonably strong signal.

Addendum: As I proofread this entry, I decided to activate my radio. The access point responded to this by disappearing. Again, I have no signal.