ITS Service Desk

Why do I have to keep registering my computer on the network?

Some students have reported to us that they have to register their laptop or phone on the SNC network multiple times. It may work for a while, then it stops working, then they register again and it works again. And this continues.

A new feature is appearing on a number of devices that allows the device to randomize the MAC address. While this may sound confusing, the main thing to know that this feature is not good for use on our network. When you register your device on our network, its MAC address is recorded in our system along with your account information; this is what allows your device to continue to use our network every day. However, if your device then changes that MAC address, it will no longer be registered.

In order to work properly and remain registered, your device must maintain a consistent MAC address.

Windows

Microsoft introduced this in Windows 10, allowing you to randomize your hardware (MAC) address. This was released in summer 2020:

iOS, iPadOS, watchOS

Apple introduced this new feature in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 and watchOS 7 which allows you to use private MAC addresses. This was released on September 16, 2020:

Android, others

We've also seen similar features in other operating systems.

Summary

If you are seeing this behavior on your device, we recommend using the information above or information from your device's manufacturer to turn off the random MAC address or private MAC addresses feature.

(Note also that if you use your device in other environments off campus, turning this feature off may improve your experience on those networks as well. This is an advanced setting; we recommend only using it if you fully understand how it works.)

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