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Table of Contents

Connecting to the Wired Network

Computer Services supports PCs running current versions of Windows,  OS X, and Linux (redhat and ubuntu). Support for other operating systems is very limited.

Requesting a network connection and IP number

Computer Services supports ethernet connections for all machines within this department. In order to have your computer attached to the network, you will need an ethernet card that supports twisted pair (ethernet) connections. If you have this card installed in your computer, send e-mail to “help” and we will make the ethernet connection. It is most helpful if you can send us the MAC address for your network card as well, this can be obtained with ipconfig (windows, if the network card is attached to the net!) or ifconfig (unix), or via the Network Preferences Panel (macs).
Once we have made your connection, we will assign an IP number and a hostname to your computer. If you would prefer a specific hostname, please include that with the mail message that you send to help.
Since we may not have enough connections to be able to support all the computers a user may wish to have, our policy is to provide a connection for any machine provided by facilities. If additional machines are required, we may request that a grant source or individual pay for the additional connections. Cost is generally below $50.00 for the required switch.

Other Support Issues

We recommend caution when installing services such as web servers, servers, email servers, etc. If you want to run such a service, please contact us to let us know what you’re intending to do so we can help. If you do run services, please make sure they are adequately secured and kept up to date. Also, please be aware that if you run a service that is accessed by anyone other than yourself, you are considered a System Administrator under Campus Policy and required to take a training module.

Additional resources may be available from the UNC Campus’ ITS Help Desk. See

Connecting to the Wireless Network

Computer Science was the first department on the main UNC-CH campus to have full wireless support, using Lucent’s Proxim’s Orinoco (WaveLan) DSSS system. After the Brooks building was completed, we transitioned to ITS’s wireless infrastructure based on wireless access points by Cisco. There are some spots in the buildings where wireless coverage is weak, but we have coverage throughout the department.

To use the wireless network, register the hardware address (also known as the MAC address) with the campus DHCP service. The wireless network in Sitterson uplinks to a router connection outside of the domain, so addresses will not work on the wireless network. More information on setting up wireless is available from ITS.


UNC-Secure is the primary wireless network, configuration instructions are provided by ITS. Please note, when you change your oynen password, you may be prompted at your device to change your password to access the wireless network, but this does not work. Rather, go to this link and follow the steps for installation to reset your access.


UNC-PSK is available if for whatever reason you cannot use UNC-SECURE, it uses a shared secret instead of a certificate.


If you need a static IP address for wireless, we have a limited number of addresses in this network. Contact if you need to use this network.


This is the public “guest” network, requiring no password. Access on this network is limited to web and a few other protocols, and to the internet outside the domain.

Mac Network Connections

Wired Connections

For a direct Ethernet connection within Sitterson, send mail to and request that a connection be installed  at the location in Sitterson or Brooks where you will be using your PowerBook.  Please specify the port number to which you wish to connect your laptop, and  let us know if there’s no free port. You should also send help your ethernet interface’s MAC (aka hardware) address so we can assign you an IP number. You can get the MAC address from the System Preferences–go to the Networking, and for the built-in Ethernet, choose the Advanced button, and the mac address will be listed under the Ethernet tab. You can also  get the MAC address from the command line using the command, ifconfig.

We will enable the port (making it “live”) and provide an Ethernet cable. Please leave the cable we provide connected to the wall so we will know that the port is in use. If you need a cable to carry with you, we can provide that as well.

Wireless Connections

For wireless connections on the public Tar-heel network (available in many parts of the building) you should only have to activate your airport connection and let it connect. This network is limited, however, to web and a few other protocols, and is heavily filtered in terms of connections to unc addresses.  To use UNC-Secure, first connect to UNC-Setup and follow the instructions in a browser (it will take you to the setup no matter where you try to connect).

Network Firewalls

For an explanation of firewalls and tips for getting started, see our Security page.

Network Status

Something Wrong?

You can check the status of the switches and some other machines on the network in Sitterson and elsewhere using Netcheck.

The ITS control center runs a monitor on campus links, click on a link and it will show you utilization.  They also offer other performance measuring tools you can access to check on server or network performance.

The Network:  Now and When?

In 2008, construction on the new Fredrick P. Brooks Jr. building was completed. In the Brooks building we have gigabit connections throughout. Sitterson also received some new network hardware, and currently we have a mix of 100 Mpbs and gigabit connections.

Remote Control of Workstations

How to connect to remote desktops from off campus
Protocols used to remotely control workstations such as Remote Desktop and VNC are blocked at the campus border, so to reach them you will need to tunnel in or use the Campus VPN software.

For windows, there are two free approaches, Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) and VNC. Of these, Remote Desktop is preferred:

  • It’s part of the windows OS so it’s updated automagically
  • Performance is quite good
  • Remote Desktop also allows sharing of Disk Drives from the client to the server, facilitating file transfer
  • It is much more secure

Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop is part of the Windows operating system, and it allows you to connect the file system of your local computer to a remote one, and to share the desktop of the remote computer giving you control over that system.

You can also connect via remote desktop from OSX or Linux:

If you need to open a hole in your local firewall, remote desktop’s port is 3389, over tcp. Don’t just open it though, you should restrict it in scope to a reasonable range.

Wired Network Connections in Offices and Labs

Almost every office currently has 9 data ports, although not all are active. If you would like a data port active, please send email to and send your office number, and the number of the port that you’d like to have activated. (Ports are labeled, beginning with a D followed by a number). Even at that level, we cannot guarantee we can connect anything and everything folks might want on the network. However:

  • We will provide a connection for at least one machine provided by the department for each affiliate with office space in Sitterson Hall.
  • In cases where a user has additional machines, provided by themselves, the department, or another source, we will make additional connections as possible, depending on what ports are free, overall network load, and personnel time.
  • In cases where an office does not have sufficient connections for that space, Computer Services will provide a small switch, but there may be a charge for the hardware.