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Connecting to OWL as a Visitor

1. Introduction

Oxford Wireless LAN - OWL logo

This service is very similar to that provided in coffee shops and airport lounges.

Accounts for this service are available from nominated persons within each department or college in the University. If you are visiting an individual at the University, ask them to obtain an account from their local IT support officer. If you are part of a group or conference, then your group organisers will be responsible for obtaining a batch of accounts and distributing credentials to you.

Please note that the visitor service:

  1. is provided as a service for colleges and departments to deliver to eligible visitors.  For non-eligible visitors (eg general public, B&B, wedding reception guests etc) units should consider subscribing to the University Public Wi-Fi Service.
  2. must not be used by members or staff of the University. They may use eduroam, the OWL and the VPN service, or a locally provided SSID, to access the wireless network.
  3. has regrettably no support available from IT Services for visitors in configuring their devices to use the service. Visitors should not be sent to the IT Services helpdesk for assistance as we will have to turn them away.

2. Connecting to the service

  1. Make sure your device is associated to the OWL wireless network; no other special configuration is required
  2. Modern client platforms will detect that they are behind a captive portal and automatically open the login page.  Failing that, open a web browser and attempt to view a page over HTTP (not HTTPS). In this increasingly HTTPS-only world, you can browse to http://neverssl.com/. You will be redirected to our secure login site and then asked for your Visitor Network credentials.
  3. Your web browser will be redirected after the log in process completes signifying a successful login.
  4. Sessions will timeout after 10 hours, or 15 minutes with no traffic.  You can simply login again if this happens.

3. After Login

This service is unencrypted. We strongly recommend that you only use secure protocols when transmitting private information. Establish a secure VPN connection to your home institution, if one is available.

Please treat this resource with respect. Do not give your username or password to any other person; notify your host or group organizer immediately if you have lost your account credentials. In particular:

  • Users are not permitted to use university IT or network facilities for any unlawful activity including unauthorised (re)distribution of copyrighted material.
  • The University may bar access at any time to computers which appear to cause unreasonable consumption of network resources
  • You must abide by our full IT regulations at https://governance.admin.ox.ac.uk/legislation/it-regulations-1-of-2002

We remind you that the visitor service is provided as a service for Colleges and Departments to deliver to their visitors. Colleges and Departments should note that there is no support available from IT Services for visitors in configuring their devices to use the service. Visitors should not attempt to use IT Services service desk for assistance as it will have to turn them away.

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 2 March 2020