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University Information Services

Who this information is for

This page gives technical details of how the wireless network is implemented using access points (APs) at the University of Cambridge. The information is for technical staff working in Colleges, departments and other institutions.


What this information covers


Applying for access points

University Information Services (UIS) can provide access points (APs) to departments and to Colleges and other institutions interested in renting them. These APs are centrally managed and ownership is retained by UIS. They will broadcast the various UniOfCam and eduroam services and there are also options for broadcasting locally authenticated wireless services from UIS APs.

Departments can apply for APs which means they will not have to pay any annual rental charges. These are supplied at the discretion of the Wireless Team, who may want to carry out a survey first. Every department is given an allocation of APs deemed appropriate for its needs. If a department requires more APs than is allocated to it, these will be supplied at the discretion of the Wireless Team who manages the Wireless Service budget.

Colleges, and other institutions not eligible for the chest-funded (centrally-funded) APs, are welcome to rent APs from UIS. Each AP has an annual rental charge associated with it, which reflects the cost recovery of the AP and other essential wireless infrastructure.

There are no upfront setup or installation costs for the APs (other than any local wiring required by the customer).


Access point five-year lifecycle

The rental charge provides UIS with a mechanism to recover the capital expenditure cost of the APs over a period of 5 years, and the equipment remains under UIS ownership. This also enables UIS to provide APs to institutions with no upfront purchase costs and has a 'built in' technology refresh cycle of every 5 years.

At any time during those 5 years, UIS may choose to upgrade a particular model of AP with a suitable, more modern equivalent, at no cost to the customer institution. This will be done if a model of AP reaches end-of-life, fails to meet a minimum specification or is no longer supportable by UIS (such as the access point firmware can not be updated to a supported version). Where possible a sensible notice period will be provided by UIS and there is also the opportunity for a customer to discuss possible changes to their AP deployment. Sometimes we will request your assistance to swap the access points at shorter notice periods should the equipment become unsupportable by us.

UIS will try to provide a replacement AP that meets the requirements of the original, such as radio types, wireless speeds, coverage and fixings (wall or ceiling mounted).

UIS reserve the right to cease supporting equipment that is end-of-life or is a security risk, in order that we can maintain a modern and secure system for the entire University.


Upgrading access points

During the normal 5 year lifecycle, an institution may wish to upgrade some APs in advance of the normal replacement schedule. They may wish to take advantage of new technologies or changing requirements.

This can be arranged but UIS is obliged to apply a restocking charge on each AP returned earlier than the normal 5 years. This charge will cover the shortfall, of the returned AP, so that UIS does not experience a financial loss.

The charge is calculated as follows:

Current replacement cost of AP x (5 – Number of years in use) / 5

This means that the institution will be charged 20% of the cost of the AP for every year in advance of the normal five-year cycle. For example, your institution would have to pay 20% of the AP if you replaced it at 4 years. If you replaced it after one year you would have to pay 80% of the AP cost. 


Lost access points

Please be aware that the rented APs remain the property of UIS. If an AP breaks due to an internal fault, we can usually replace it at no charge. If an AP is broken by accidental damage or is lost, then the institution renting the AP will be charged a replacement cost.

The replacement cost is based upon the current price of the AP and also the age of the AP that needs replacing. Older APs will have a lower replacement charge.


UIS policy on the use of leaky feeders

UIS does not support 'leaky feeders' as a viable solution for providing wireless services on APs provided by UIS. Any use of a leaky-feeder with UIS-provided APs is not allowed.


Last updated: April 2023