How to Connect Online

Last Modified: March 27, 2020

Access to high-speed internet is critical for remote instruction and online classes. While some students have decided to stay on-campus and in the East Lansing area, others have decided to return to their primary residences where internet capabilities are outside of the university’s control. If you are unable to access the internet at any time, refer to the information below.

 

Accessing Internet On-Campus or in the Surrounding Area

If you are staying on-campus or in the Lansing/East Lansing area and have any internet problems, contact:

MSU campus

  • MSU IT Service Desk: 517-432-6200 or 1-844-678-6200

Lansing/East Lansing area

  • Spartan-Net: 1-866-386-7778
  • Xfinity: 1-800-934-6489
  • AT&T: 1-833-732-2243

 

Accessing Internet Away from Campus

If you don't have access to internet at your primary residence, consider these tips:

1) Use Your Internet Service Provider's Hotspots

One simple way to find Wi-Fi away from home is to use your home provider. For example, if you’re a Comcast user, you will have access to Xfinity Wi-Fi networks when traveling. For most ISP networks, check their Wi-Fi page on the main site or download their hotspot app. Find a hotspot by entering an address or form of location. Then connect to your ISP’s available hotspots.

Helpful ISP hotspot pages:

2) Use Your Phone as a Hotspot

This is also known as tethering. Some carriers have restrictions on how much data can be used for tethering or charged for using the feature, so be sure to check with your provider.

Common wireless service providers:

  • Verizon: 1-800-922-0204
  • AT&T: 1-800-288-2020
  • Sprint: 1-844-764-8359
  • T-Mobile: 1-800-937-8997

 

Discounted Internet Packages

Below are resources for learning more about discounted internet packages from some of the major providers. These links are provided for informational use when deciding on an appropriate solution for you.

EveryoneOn: EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunities by connecting everyone to the internet. Visit their website to learn more.

Comcast: Comcast runs programs that bring the cost of the Internet down for students depending on their eligibility. Learn more by visitng the Comcast/Xfinity student page and their Internet Essentials website.

Charter/Spectrum: Spectrum provides free Internet access to qualifying homes with students. Learn more about their programs and find out if Spectrum is available in your area. Visit their website to learn more.

AT&T: Through their Access program, AT&T makes Internet access available to qualifying homes. Learn more about this program on their website.

WOW: WOW is one of the providers participating in Lifeline, an income or government assistance based program that provides low-cost Internet service. Learn how to apply.

 

Public Wi-Fi: How to Stay Safe

If you choose to use public Wi-Fi, consider taking these appropriate steps to protect yourself:

  • Keep antivirus installed and up to date
  • Use a VPN
  • Be skeptical if it’s too easy to connect (ex. no agreement page)
  • Only browse on HTTPS websites
  • Refrain from accessing confidential data (ex. bank account)
  • Avoid performing online transactions
  • Verify popular Wi-Fi networks are correct (ex. Starbucks WiFi vs. Free Starbucks WiFi)
  • Always make sure paid Wi-Fi is legitimate and use a third-party payment system
  • Cover your keyboard when entering any passwords or credentials
  • If the connection is slow, it could be due to the device rerouting to the hacker’s access point

Eduroam

If you are near a college campus that is not MSU, you may be able to use your MSU credentials to access Wi-Fi via eduroam, which is a world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. Visit https://www.eduroam.org/where/ to find a map of global locations and learn how to use this resource. If you choose to use this resource and visit a location where eduroam may be available to you, it is important that you ensure that this location is safe and you are able to maintain social distancing.

Eduroam is a wireless network access service that allows global Wi-Fi compatibility between academic institutions and organizations. Students, researchers, staff, and faculty from a participating institution can access the wireless networks of any other participating institution by using their home institution’s credentials.

This means that visitors to MSU have easy access to Wi-Fi while on campus, and the MSU community has easy access when visiting other institutions across the world!

The process for connecting to Eduroam varies between devices. See below to learn how to connect yours:

 

Campus VPN

A virtual private network allows remote devices to connect to MSU's network as if they were located on campus. MSU's VPN is called F5 BIG-IP Edge. Most students will not need to use the VPN to access the MSU network and systems.

Here are some popular sites and applications that do not require the VPN:

  • D2L Zoom
  • Spartan 365 (Microsoft) Suite
    • OneDrive
    • Outlook
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • Teams
  • Google Suite
  • Qualtrics
  • EBS
  • All MSU sites, including:

VPN Access for Students

If you use an application that requires the Campus VPN, also known as F5 BIG-IP Edge, log into new.vpn.msu.edu using your MSU NetID. Some colleges may have their own VPN for specific applications (e.g. Engineering).

If you need help, refer to the these instructions or contact the IT Service Desk at ithelp@msu.edu, 517-432-6200, or chat.

Note: Some internet service providers, personal networks, and countries may restrict or block VPN access. If you are located outside of the US, please be sure your government permits VPN use.