Class Prep

Residence Hall Information


What kind of Ethernet card should I buy?  What do I tell the salesperson?  Where should I buy it from?

Most new computers are already equipped with compatible built-in network cards. If yours isn't, you should get a 100 Mbps / Fast Ethernet capable Ethernet card.  The USF Computer Store can help you in picking the right card.

What about a Gigabit?

Currently all student connections are switched, full-duplex 100 Mbps.  Any new residence halls or renovations will upgrade connections to full gigabit (1000 Mbps) speeds.


What about the cable to connect the computer to the wall jack?

That cable must be a Category 6 (Cat 6, Cat VI) cable or better. When purchasing it, just saying 'Category 6 Ethernet patch cable' should be enough. Do not use cable that isn't labeled as Category 6, Category 6e or Category 6. Using such a cable will most likely lead to decreased and erratic performance. Do not place anything on top of the cable, and do not place the cable so that it will be stepped on. This can disrupt the internal structure of the cable and will also lead into decreased performance and network errors. Finally, avoid excessive lengths of cable, try to keep it under 20'.


Can I connect two computers to the same jack?

No. Splitters that let you plug in two computers in one jack, but they only worked on old networks.  Currently each computer needs all the wires in a jack, so they cannot be shared.   Do not connect any devices such as wireless access points, SoHo routers, switches or hubs to the network ports. If you have legitimate special requirements, please contact Residence Services Computing.

What's an IP address and DHCP?

To communicate with other computers on the Internet, your computer must speak a language called TCP/IP. The IP address is the name of your machine in this language. However, the IP address isn't hardwired into the computer, and if people get careless, two computers could end up with the same IP address. This would be bad, because then neither could browse the web or log on to check email, since other machines can't tell these two apart! To prevent this from happening we use a technology called DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, since you asked), that keeps track of IP addresses and hands unused ones out to computers when they are started.

What should I name my computer?

The name of your computer should be unique - picking any celebrity or cartoon character is likely to be duplicated by someone else. Something generic like your room number works best, but if you don't feel comfortable with that try to be as original as possible.