Connecting Your Own Computer To The Maths Network

Before You Begin

  • Use DHCP ("obtain an IP address automatically") to obtain your IP address and DNS settings.
  • Check that your web browser connects directly to the Internet (your home University's proxy server may not work here).
  • Set your computer's clock to the correct time (otherwise it may think web certificates have expired when they haven't). Use the Network Time Protocol to set your computer's clock automatically.
  • Low batteries often cause connection problems, so plug your laptop into the mains if possible.

Wireless Connections

View the list of available wireless networks, which should include eduroam, and UniOfCam.

  • eduroam is a secure roaming access service which makes it easy for members of one university with eduroam to connect to the Internet wirelessly from any other university with eduroam. Because it is more secure than the other networks, it offers a fuller range of network services, and it is the recommended choice of wireless network.

    eduroam needs to be configured before first use, but thereafter will "Just Work". Cambridge users should refer to the UIS's configuration instructions. Visitors should configure their computers for eduroam access before leaving their home university, consulting with their local computer support if necessary. If your home university does not support eduroam yet, you will have to use UniOfCam instead.

    Technical details about the CMS eduroam setup

  • UniOfCam is recommended for those who cannot use eduroam e.g. because their home institution does not support it. Short-term visitors can authenticate to this network with a University wireless ticket. If you have not received yours, please ask Reception or a Computer Officer for one. Staff, students and long-term visitors should use their Raven password to authenticate. If you do not have a Raven password or have forgotten it, please speak to a CO.

Connect to the most suitable wireless network. If you are using eduroam, you do not have to do anything else - you are now connected to the Internet. If you are using UniOfCam, start up your web browser. Follow the instructions on the "authentication page" to which you should be redirected.

Wired Connections

Wired connections for laptops are also available, but only on wall-ports which have been configured as part of the CMS laptop network. These wall-ports are generally marked with a sticker or an orange cable. If you are unsure where to plug in your laptop, or you experience any difficulty setting up a wired connection, please ask for help as a new socket may need to be wired up. Do not disconnect a desktop computer so as to connect up your laptop. This will not work, because the desktops are on a different network, and will cause problems for anyone who was logged into that desktop remotely.

There are two ways to authenticate your laptop on the wired network.

  1. Using your eduroam credentials (instructions for some common operating systems).
  2. Using your web browser and Raven password in a similar manner to the Unencrypted.maths wireless network.


Security Restrictions

Once you have authenticated your laptop, you are able to browse the web and make ssh/PuTTy connections to other machines, but there may be some restrictions on what else you can do online, especially on the less secure wireless network UniOfCam. For example, visitors may find that they cannot connect to their home University via a VPN. For best results you are advised to use eduroam if possible, or failing that, the wired network. If you are still unable to do what you need to do, please ask for help.

The gory technical details


The most straightforward way to read your email is in a web browser, if your sysadmin has set this up. Links to webmail for local users:

If you prefer to use an email client such as Thunderbird, it must be configured to use secure settings (IMAP+STARTTLS on port 143 and SMTP+STARTTLS on port 587). You will need to know the names of your IMAP and SMTP servers.

  • Hermes: and
  • DAMTP: If not using Hermes, and
  • DPMMS: both
  • Statslab: both

Access To Maths Home Directory

You can ssh/putty into a Maths computer from your laptop as you would from any other networked machine, or use Winex to run a graphical Linux session under Windows.

You can copy your files over ssh using a free graphical program such as winscp (Windows), cyberduck (MacOSX), or nautilus (Linux). Or you can use command-line tools such as sftp, scp or rsync. See the manual pages for details.

If you are using eduroam within the CMS, or have wired your laptop up to the CMS laptop network, then you can access your files over Samba provided that you know your Maths Windows password. Note that this will not work from outside the site or from the UniOfCam network.

Details of accessing your Maths home directory from the laptop network

The Rules

  • Please keep your computer's anti-virus software and security patches up to date. If it has been compromised and is attacking other machines, it will have to be disconnected to protect the rest of the network.
  • Please do not unplug or disconnect desktops so that you can connect up your laptop, and consider other users when disconnecting peripherals such as monitors.

How To Get Help

If you have a problem with the laptop network, please email help@maths. Please give the following details to help us diagnose the problem:

  • Wireless connections: the most recent usage data from the web page
  • Wired connections: the information from accessing the web page on your laptop.
  • Your office number.
  • Which network are you connecting to (eduroam, UniOfCam, wired eduroam, or the "ordinary" wired network)?
  • The operating system of your laptop (e.g. Windows, Mac or Linux).
  • Any error messages you are getting.