Troubleshooting University WiFi (eduroam, OWL, Sky WiFi)

General troubleshooting 

Use the information on this page to help diagnose and resolve common WiFi problems. If you have a connection but apps are performing poorly then we would recommend skipping straight to the Slow connection section as this will help determine whether the issue lies with the WiFi connection or the app itself. 

If you need further assistance, then please contact your local IT support staff.

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If your mobile phone does not show a WiFi status icon (see Related Links), or the icon shows that you are not connected, then you are not using a University WiFi network and your phone is relying on your mobile network (aka mobile data, 4G, 5G or cellular network).

The University is not currently permitted to boost cellular network signals, so you are dependent on the signal provided by your network provider (such as Ee, Vodafone, O2, Three). These do not travel well through the thick walls of our older buildings or through books on shelves, so indoor signals can be pretty weak.

If you have a good connection to University WiFi but weak mobile network then you may be able to improve call reliability and quality by activating WiFi calling:

University WiFi not listed

eduroam should show up in a WiFi network list in most University of Oxford and college spaces including accommodation, teaching and research spaces, function rooms and open spaces adjacent to University buildings.

OWL (Oxford Wireless LAN) should show up in a WiFi network list in most University of Oxford spaces and some college spaces including accommodation, teaching and research spaces, function rooms and open spaces adjacent to University buildings.

Sky WiFi (public WiFi) is only available in selected areas, mainly colleges.

If these networks are not showing up then the following steps may help:

  • Check that you have WiFi enabled on your device
  • Try switching flight mode on and then off
  • Restart your device
  • Contact local IT support for the department, college or building that you are in

Our WiFi networks will not normally be available in privately rented accommodation, and may not be available in some annexe buildings or larger open spaces away from buildings.

Problems connecting to eduroam

If you’re having trouble setting up eduroam on your device, the following may help:

  • On Android devices we strongly recommend using the geteduroam app to connect. If you have previously used another method then please forget the network and follow our eduroam for Android guide
  • The geteduroam app is also available for iPhone / iPad and is worth a try if other methods are not working for you
  • Check that your username is formatted as abcd1234@OX.AC.UK
  • Check that you are using your Remote Access password, not your Single Sign-On (SSO) password. If you forget your Remote Access password you can reset it on our Self-Registration page
  • If you have unsuccessfully tried to set up eduroam, then you should forget the network before trying again
  • Look for errors in the settings, such as OX.AX.UK rather than OX.AC.UK
  • The date and time on your device needs to be correct - set this to automatically update

Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / gaming consoles

Many Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Alexa / Google Assistant and gaming consoles still do not support the security protocols required on our networks (IEEE 802.1x / WPA2-Enterprise). An increasing number of colleges have alternative ways for you to connect these: please contact your local IT support team for advice.

Other issues

Language conversion software can stop you from being able to log in, as these can change the username or password that gets used for logins, and some extended character sets don't work reliably with eduroam in some institutions. Turn off any language conversion software you have installed before entering your username and password

If you are a Mac user and receive an error message saying ‘Authentication failed on network “eduroam”: The identity of the authentication server could not be established’ then your computer may not have automatically updated eduroam’s security certificate. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and search for Profile, then delete any profile named eduroam. You should be prompted to accept the updated certificate when you next connect.

If you can’t connect to WiFi on an iPhone or iPad, resetting your network settings can help. You can do this by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will forget any WiFi networks and passwords, cellular settings and VPN settings you have saved on your device

If your device says it has a WiFi connection but the status icon or an alert says that you have no internet then we recommend testing this for yourself. Just open a browser and visit a common site such as Google or the BBC.

Security check delay

In some colleges and areas of the University your device needs to complete a security check before it is fully connected. This can take 30 seconds or so, which feels like a long time, but if your device says it's connected but you have no internet then it's worth waiting to see if the connection completes.

iPhone / iPad issues

Users who have changed their remote access password may need to forget the eduroam network and reconfigure their connection.

We recommend the use of an internet speed testing service such as Ookla to report the actual WiFi speed on your device. If you have a fast connection but are having trouble using the internet, the issue may be with the app or site you are accessing or with your WiFi configuration.

  • USB 3.0 ports and cables, known as SuperSpeed USB, can reduce the speed of your WiFi. This is because they emit ‘noise’ on the same frequency used by most WiFi networks (2.4 GHz). USB 3.0 ports and cables have nine pins, opposed to four for USB 2.0, and the ports generally have blue plastic inside them. If you think a USB 3.0 cable may be negatively affecting your WiFi service, you can use a shielded USB cable to reduce interference or remove USB 3.0 cables from your laptop when using WiFi
  • Mobile phone WiFi hotspots, wireless devices and Bluetooth can all interfere with WiFi signal. Disable these devices where possible to improve signal strength for you and your neighbours

Personal wireless access point / shared wireless

If you have a personal wireless access point in your room / house (these are commonly used in Graduate Accommodation, but also in some college accommodation) or use a connection shared from another device then you will only be able to connect when in range of the access point / device. This can be as much as 30m away but walls, doors and furniture (especially bookshelves) can reduce this to as little as 5m. We recommend that you configure eduroam WiFi so that your device can connect to this network, which is the most widely available network and covers most university and college buildings.

Weak signal

Disconnection can be caused by poor or variable signal. You can use a WiFi analyser app to check network signal strength where you are, and find better coverage. There are free versions available for Android, iOS and Windows, and Macs have this as a built-in feature.

MS Windows specifics

Disconnection issues can occur in Windows if the ‘Connect automatically’ option is not selected. You can enable this when first connecting to eduroam, or by going to Start   > Settings  > Network & Internet > WiFi > Manage known networks > eduroam > Properties and turning Connect automatically when in range to On.

Out-of-date network drivers can break WiFi connections, especially on Windows PCs. You can manually update device drivers at any time to make sure you have the latest versions. This can be particularly important for new PCs or if you haven't checked for updated drivers in the last 6 months.

Intel PROSet/Wireless Software can cause connections to drop intermittently on Windows computers. You can try uninstalling this: Start  > Settings  > Apps, select Intel PROSet/Wireless Software and pick Uninstall. If the issue persists then you can disable power saving for the wireless adapter.

iPhone / iPad specifics

All iPhone and iPad devices are susceptible to an issue known as "sticky client", which means that they find the strongest signal when first connecting but if you move around then they will tend to stick to the weakening connection instead of reconnecting to a closer, stronger signal. A quick check and resolution for this issue is to turn airplane mode on, wait 10 seconds, and then turn airplane mode off again.

The "Private Address" feature in iOS changes your device identification periodically, which can lead to disconnections. If you are experiencing disconnection on a daily basis then you can see if things improve by disabling this: Settings  > Wi-Fi  > Information   and then turn off the Private Address setting.



If you can connect to common sites such as Google or the BBC then a problem accessing other sites probably means that the site provider is experiencing a difficulty, rather than any problem with your WiFi connection. This also applies to mobile apps that don't start up correctly or can't load content.

OWL WiFi network

If you are connected to the OWL WiFi network then you will need to open a VPN connection before proceeding.

Local firewall / VPN

If your network appears to be configured but you still can’t access any sites the internet, including, your connection may be blocked by firewall software on your device. It could also be affected by a non-University VPN connection such as Norton Secure VPN, McAfee Safe Connect VPN or NordVPN. You can test this by temporarily disabling your firewall or VPN (consult your vendor documentation on how to do this).