Frequently Asked Questions
What type of computer should I get?
St. Olaf uses both Apple Macintosh and Gateway PC-compatable computers on campus. The platform you obtain should be purchased to support your computer needs. More information and recommendations on computer purchases.
What computers can connect to the St. Olaf network?
If you own a Macintosh or PC-Compatible computer, you can connect to the college network in your residence hall room. If you own a portable computer, you can also connect to the campus network from other locations on campus (Library, Buntrock Commons, Dittmann Center, campus green, etc.). Both PC-compatibles and Macintoshes can connect via 10bT Ethernet or the wireless network, where available.
Is wireless access available in the residence halls or honor houses?
Wireless access is available in all of the residence halls and honor houses. Please keep in mind that a wired connection will almost always provide superior service and that wireless signal strength can vary greatly depending on location and interference (microwaves, cordless phones, etc.)
What if I have more computers in my room than network jacks?
In some cases, you may wish to connect more computers than there are network jacks (such as two computers in a Thorson double, or three in a Kittelsby or Larson room, etc.). If this is the case, you will need to purchase an Ethernet hub.
How much does it cost me?
The connection to our system is free. The only cost will be the hardware that your computer needs to connect to our network. Many computers purchased recently already have the necessary hardware and need only a cable to connect.
Do I have to apply for a connection?
No. All room jacks are active and there is no need to apply to activate them. Simply plug in your computer to the network jack following the instructions given for PC's or Macs.
Where can I get help installing hardware and software?
St. Olaf cannot install hardware in your computer, but most vendors will assist you with hardware installation. You can check the list of Northfield-area computer repair service providers on the repairs page.
IIT Helpdesk staff are trained to help answer questions about software and hardware configurations in your room and to assist you with software installation. (Because of liability concerns, staff may not physically open your computing equipment.) Contact the Helpdesk to arrange for them to assist you.
I have a modem that I use for e-mail at home. Should I get
an Ethernet adapter?
An Ethernet connection is up to 100 times faster than a modem connection and allows access to printers and fileservers, unlike a modem. Also, you would have to obtain an outside Internet System Provider (ISP) at a cost. With a modem connection you have to wait for an open modem line; with an Ethernet connection the network is always there for you to use, and it doesn't tie up your phone line.
Ethernet Adapter: (or "Ethernet card"): Also called a network interface card (NIC). A piece of computer hardware that allows a computer to connect to an Ethernet network.
Ethernet: A networking protocol connecting all computers across campus, using a particular type of cable (i.e., a phone cord will not work). St. Olaf supports 10bT Ethernet.
RJ45-45: This is an Ethernet cable that allows access to the network and the Internet. Both ends of this cable are the same size. Please refer to the network cables guide to determine if this cable is needed in the hall you are living in.
RJ11-45: This is an Ethernet cable that allows access to the network and to the Internet. It differs from the RJ45-45 cable (above) because the end that connects it to the data outlet in the wall is smaller than the end that connects to the computer. Some halls use this cable instead of the more standard RJ45-45 cable. Please refer to the network cables guide to determine if this cable is needed in the hall you are living in.
TCP/IP: A protocol for communication between computer, used as a standard for transmitting data over networks and is the standard for Internet communications. It stands for Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.
PCMCIA (PC Card) Ethernet Adapter: The adapter makes it possible to connect a portable computer to the network if the portable doesn't have a built-in Ethernet card. It resembles a card or small box that fits into the PCMCIA or PC Card slot in the machine.
Hub: A hub is a hardware box used to connect several computers together. At St. Olaf you may need a hub if there are more computers in a room than network jacks available. This is true for most triples on campus (manufactured triples) and for rooms in Thorson. More information on purchasing hubs is available.