Network Registration
Network Registration
Frequently Asked Questions Computing Ethics Policy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NetReg?

NetReg is a Boston University Campus Network service that produces an association between you and any computer you register in an institutional database. This database is subsequently used to assign your computer an Internet address—also known as an IP address—associating you with the address you're assigned.

What is the purpose of NetReg?

ResNet—the network serving Boston University residence halls—provides high speed access to the Campus Network and the Internet to over 11,000 computers. If any one of these computers is improperly configured, malfunctioning, or compromised by a virus, worm, or other malicious intrusion, it can affect the performance of ResNet and the availability of network resources overall. Without NetReg, a malfunctioning computer can only be immediately identified by its Internet address. Using this address to determine who to contact in response to a problem is difficult and time consuming. With NetReg's association of BU login names to network addresses, we can determine who to contact in response to a problem more quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, since NetReg compiles a list of ResNet subscribers, we can send important announcements to the ResNet community regarding network upgrades and maintenance activities.

Does NetReg reconfigure, install software, or place information on my computer?

No. NetReg simply creates a record in the NetReg database with your network address and BU login name.

After I register and reboot my computer, how do I know I'm registered via NetReg?

Once you register and reboot your computer, you should have unrestricted access to the Campus Network and the Internet. For example, if you can successfully direct your Web browser to a Web service such as Google (, you and your computer have been registered via NetReg.

Does a computer registered with NetReg have access to resources that would otherwise require me to enter my BU login name and Kerberos password?

Although registering a computer with NetReg enables that computer to communicate via ResNet, registration does not in itself enable a computer to gain access to resources that otherwise require a BU login name and Kerberos password, such as e-mail, ACS, and the Link. A BU login name and Kerberos password are always required each time you connect to these resources from any computer.

I have visitors who want to connect their notebook computers to ResNet while they're here. Can they register their computers?

Only someone with a BU login name and Kerberos password can register a computer on ResNet. If you have guests who want to use ResNet while they're here, you may register their computers in your name. However, you will be held accountable for their use of ResNet. Keep in mind that you should only enter personal information such as a BU login name and Kerberos password on a computer you own, or on a computer owned by someone you trust.

Can I use NetReg to register my wireless access point?

Personal computers are the only devices authorized to connect to ResNet. Network components such as personal wireless access points that are not installed and managed by the Office of Information Technology are prohibited in the residence halls.

Why shouldn't I use a personal wireless access point in the residence halls?

There are several reasons why personal wireless access points are prohibited in the residence halls. These devices often provide a broad range of complex network services that may interfere with ResNet performance and availability. More importantly, unregulated wireless access points pose a serious security risk that can be exploited by malicious individuals to eavesdrop on wireless transmissions. These transmissions often contain sensitive or confidential information, such as passwords and personal records. Would you feel comfortable giving an acquaintance or someone you don't even know access to your letters, telephone calls, or e-mail? Personal wireless access points put something else, and possibly someone else, between you and your ResNet transactions. They may also provide others with access to your transmissions, even if these individuals don't have physical access to, or control over, the device.

Is it ever safe to use a wireless network?

Wireless networks that are professionally managed and maintained by a responsible network service provider and that incorporate additional security features such as a VPN are reasonably safe to use. For more information about wireless network access at Boston University, including locations at the University that provide authorized wireless service, visit our IT Help Center wireless network Web site at

Who should I contact if I have other questions about NetReg?

If you have questions about NetReg or personal computing at Boston University, please contact the IT Help Center at:

IT Help Center
533 Commonwealth Avenue (Kenmore Square)
617-353-HELP (353-4357)
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Network Systems | IS&T | January 21, 2010