student in media lab

Network, WiFi, and VPN

What you will need to connect to our network

There is wireless connectivity in every dorm room and wired ethernet connections in most. Most computers these days come ready to connect to wireless networks, in which case you don't need any special hardware to access our network.

If you choose to use an ethernet connection you will need an ethernet cable to connect to the wall jack. You will need an RJ45 ethernet cable to connect your computer to the network jack in your room. This is the same type of cable that is used to connect to high speed cable and DSL connections in homes. We do have them for sale at the Hampstore, but you will find them for less money at your local Best Buy, Staples, or similar retailer.

NetReg: Network Registration and Activation

We require all students to register all of their computers on the network at the beginning of each year. Registration is required for both wired and wireless connections. You can register as many computers as you want and it only needs to be done once a year. You do not need to re-register if you change rooms, but you will need to register for both wired and wireless connections.

When you first plug your computer into the network or connect to our public wireless network, open up any web browser. You will be redirected to the NetReg page, which requires you to login using your HampNet account. Once you have logged in, your computer will be scanned for major security vulnerabilities. Once the scan and registration are complete, you will be instructed to restart your computer and your connection will become active.

Trouble with NetReg?

If you have trouble registering your device with us it may be because of incompatible DNS (Domain Name Service) settings; your device may report no internet service. DNS is responsible for interpreting web address that are typed into web browsers (, for instance) and pointing the browser to the corresponding IP address. Sometimes DNS settings are changed to use a specific DNS service--commonly Google--but that is incompatible with our NetReg system as well as some other security features we use on our network. Our DNS settings should automatically be set up on your computer unless you have some previous manual settings. Instructions for accessing DNS settings on a Mac can be found here, but do not use the Add ("+") function--only use the Remove ("-") function to remove any settings that are removable (you cannot remove our automatic settings). Similarly on Windows you can access the settings here and just remove any DNS settings that may have been preset.

Connecting your Phone to our Network

Your phone has to be registered to our network in the same way, through Before you go there, though, turn off your cellular access and select our network.

Wireless on Campus

We currently have wireless connections available in all public spaces, including the library, academic buildings, and the dining commons, as well as in all student housing.

There are four discrete wireless networks available in academic areas:

  • Eduroam (private): Eduroam is a global federated wireless network for the research and education community. It allows members of participating institutions to use the same wireless configuration they use at their home institution when visiting other participating institutions. Hampshire community members may find this particularly useful because it has been implemented at all of the Five Colleges; if you set up eduroam at Hampshire, you can go to the other institutions in the Five Colleges, open your laptop, and be instantly online.
  • Hampguest (public): This network does not require a login and has an entirely separate connection to the Internet. In this way, it is like sitting in an internet cafe; you are not really on Hampshire's network while using this wireless network, and as such cannot access anything that is on-campus only, and on-campus services will be slower than when using wallace or the dorm networks. This network is only available in the public areas of campus. Students should register their guest's computers under their names if they have guests that need access in the dorms. In this way, you are taking responsibility for the actions of your guests on our network.
  • Gromit (private): This network requires a current Hampshire login, and provides full, direct access to on-campus services, with the exception of certain resources only available to faculty and staff.
  • Wallace (private): This network requires a current faculty or staff Hampshire login, and provides full, direct access to all on-campus services.

In the dorms, the network name matches the housing area, and requires a Hampshire login, like Gromit. For instance, in Merrill, the network name is "merrill."

Private wireless access points are not supported. If you have poor wireless in your housing area, please submit an IT ticket on TheHub.

Hampshire's wireless network is powered by H3C 2620/2620E (a/b/g/n) Access Points.

Peer to Peer Filesharing, Copyright Info, and Network Management

Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing is a fact of modern life on the Internet. It's something all network engineers have to deal with. There are many good things about P2P, but it makes life very difficult for people managing large networks, especially ones with limited resources.

Our goal is to maximize legitimate academic uses of our network. Sometimes, in order to do this, we have to limit the availability of certain P2P protocols. If we allowed unrestricted use of P2P filesharing, use of our network for legitimate academic purposes would be compromised.

We are aware of the fact that there are legal and illegal uses for P2P, and differentiating between the two is problematic. Therefore, we recognize that from time to time, in order to maintain the integrity of our off-campus network access, we may need to limit all uses of P2P, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We ask that users of our network limit their use of P2P to legal and reasonable activities, and have respect for the other users of our network.

We will not and do not provide support or troubleshooting assistance of any kind for off-campus P2P activities. Please note that sharing of copyrighted material with persons not authorized to have possession of such materials is illegal and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.


VPN allows Hampshire employees and students to access Hampshire services from off campus that are not normally available from off campus. If you're planning to use it, you should install and test it before you need it.

About our Network

Hampshire College's network consists of a fully-switched infrastructure with a 10-gigabit fiber backbone in a star topology and at least 100base-T to the desktop. In many cases, there is gigabit to the pillow, and our multimedia labs all have gigabit. Every building on campus has ethernet, and there is wireless coverage in all academic buildings and dorms. Hampshire gets its server connectivity, which is highly redundant, through the University of Massachusetts and its commodity bandwidth through Lightower, both running over the Five College Fiber Network. We have more than twice as much bandwidth per student than any other institution in the valley, and our 2Gbit connection has only rarely gone over 50% utilization.

Security is a serious concern for all academic institutions, and Hampshire College is no exception. We follow a traditional security model consisting of an edge firewall device, PAT-less NAT, distributed routing with OSPF, multiple virtual Local Area Networks with associated subnets, a regular patching and update schedule, and SSL encryption of all sensitive traffic.

Interested in more details? View the technical description of our network.

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IT staff members provide a wide range of academic and administrative technology support and services to the Hampshire community.
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Stay In Touch
With Communication Systems and Networking
Snail Mail
Wm. Josiah Erikson - Network Engineer
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002