The service operates in a similar way to those provided in coffee shops and airport lounges; no special software is required other than a web browser that supports cookies. A device with network connectivity and a web browser supporting cookies should have no problem connecting to the Visitor Network, in particular wherever the OWL WiFi service is available.
A PDF instruction document is available for each account, including basic steps for getting online, username, password and the times that the account will be active.
For cases where the wireless network requires minimal network configuration, the settings being:
- SSID (Network Name): OWL
- Static WEP: Disabled
- WEP Authentication: Open (not Shared)
- Network Type: Infrastructure (not Ad-Hoc)
Once supplied with their username and password, when attempting to browse to any web page the web request is intercepted with a redirection to our login page. After entering their credentials and accepting our terms and conditions, largely based on the current University IT statutes, they are given internet access and redirected back to the originally intercepted page (or http://www.ox.ac.uk/ if we didn't manage to capture it successfully).
Access is permitted for ten hours at a time, after which the user must log in again. After 15 minutes of inactivity the visitor is also disconnected from the service in order to resist some forms of spoofing attack, however credentials are not required until the ten hour window expires. A visitor can therefore come and go from the service, only needing to log back in occasionally.
Traffic on this service is routed outside of the University network. Therefore although clients may be physically within a University or college building, they connect to the University's network as if coming form the internet, and hence have no special access to network servers and are restricted by our JANET connection firewall. Clients will be leased RFC1918 (private) IP addresses, translated into public addresses that are not part of the common University allocation; these addresses also appear in our oxuni.org.uk DNS domain rather than ox.ac.uk.