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Creating Wi-Fi policy: Elements to consider before implementation

We are planning to implement Wi-Fi in our school but first want to have a policy for how the whole school will use Wi-Fi. Can you offer any advice or a sample copy of a Wi-Fi policy?

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First, congratulations on starting with a Wi-Fi policy in place. Far too often, Wi-Fi security and Acceptable Usage Policies are an afterthought, but your approach is less likely to land you in hot water.  In this detailed discussion about crafting a mobile device security policy (which includes examples), I discuss factors to consider as you draft a mobility policy, as well as pitfalls to avoid.

Read more of Lisa’s expert advice

Overcoming wireless network interference in public venues

Using wireless network bandwidth monitoring to stay within data caps

Unauthorized network access: Neighbors pose a network security threat?

While that tip is not specific to Wi-Fi security, it should give you a good feel for the elements that should be addressed in wireless policy. In addition, here are a few Wi-Fi policies that go beyond security to discuss where and how Wi-Fi devices can be used:

University of CA Santa Cruz Wi-Fi policy

Pima County Public Library Wi-Fi policy

Auburn University Wi-Fi policy

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I have listed examples from schools and libraries because I believe these organizations probably have needs and concerns that will be similar to yours. I encourage you to talk to other network administrators in nearby schools to discuss their policies. You should ask them if written policies exist, what they contain, what has worked well, and what they think your colleagues should do differently. While you might not find a wireless policy that is exactly what you need, this will give you more insight into what you should consider. In short, effective policies are as much about need and use as they are about rules and settings.

This was first published in May 2012

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