Ask LH: How Can I Convert My College Room Ethernet To Wi-Fi?

Dear Lifehacker,
I am a student staying at a dorm where we don’t get Wi-Fi in our rooms. We have to use Ethernet and are given a unique pairing of username and password to log in via a software the management installed on our laptops.

Dorm room picture from Shutterstock

I’m currently using Connectify to broadcast the Ethernet as Wi-Fi signals for my iPad and iPhone to connect to, but I would like a proper solution to this limited connectivity without having to leave my laptop on. I presume I could do this with a router, but I’m unsure of which one I should get. I’m confused about the different types of routers. Do I need DSL? I’m also concerned over the password locked nature of the internet provided by my dorm, how would my login work with a router? Another issue is that we have a bandwidth quota, and are only allowed one login on one machine at a time, so if I have to use my internet in the printing room, I have to log out on my laptop. How would that work with a router? Any thoughts? Thanks, Cable Confused

Dear CC,

The first thing you’ll want to do is check what the policy is in your residence, as some may ban Wi-Fi precisely in order to reduce bandwidth usage. If this isn’t an issue, check if the university or residence has recommended/supported models. Most routers can be controlled remotely via a web interface, so setting them is easy — simply connect to the cable, log on via Wi-Fi, enter the password and you should be okay. Things can become slightly more complicated if the university software is particularly arcane — all you can do is cross your fingers really.

As to the DSL question, you definitely don’t need it. To solve the printing problem, we advise logging out before you head to the printer room. In today’s increasingly paperless tertiary environment, we’re guessing this won’t be a hugely common occurrence.

Are any of our readers currently boarding at university? Share you own Wi-Fi tips in the comments section below.


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