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Prevent users from switching to another wireless network

Posted on 2012-03-29
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
All our schools have wireless and the content is filtered in accordance with CIPA or whatever it is called.

Students in one school are close to a motel/hotel with open wireless. When they want to look at stuff we have to have blocked they simply switch it to that wireless.

Besides that it causes other issues like they don't switch it back and then the next class calls because they can't access server shares and printer's and various other things on our network. It is a simple fix of switching it back to the school's secured wireless but it is a pain.

Is there anything we can do to prevent the switching of the wireless the laptop connects to?
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Question by:pclinuxguru
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BalthazarThePro earned 500 total points
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Are the laptops and tablets property of the school?

If so I believe it could be done if all machines are on the same domain that it could be done.

Here is what i found on the subject. Though you almost always need direct access to the computer to do so.

http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/prevent-limited-user-switching-wireless-network-t444880.html

http://www.edugeek.net/forums/windows/46788-prevent-students-changing-any-wireless-network-settings.html

The second website is better in my opinion.
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by:pclinuxguru
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Yes they are all school property and on the same ad domain. I will give the links a look :)
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by:newmath
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As noted above you can definitely lock this down with GPO's in a domain, but that requires that the hardware be the school's property and in a domain environment. The other solutions above may work too, assuming you have physical access and possibly ownership of the hardware.

Here's a weird solution that you might have fun researching: you could build a faraday cage / shield in the area where WIFI is emanating. In other words, if you could put copper or brass ringed sheets in the outside walls of the school near where the hotel is located -- it would block out the WIFI signal. Of course, it would probably interfere with other outside wireless sources as well -- like cellular. But, it's food for thought.
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by:pclinuxguru
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hehe can't say I haven't thought of it :)
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by:pclinuxguru
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Thanks
This was done on a server 2003 AD domain with the laptops being domain members and the accounts in question are the student lab accounts.
I had to use my Windows 7 box because some of the policies are Server 2008 family but are designed to work in a 2003/xp environment and since we do have a few win7 machines it should work on them too.

What worked was disabling access to change network settings. The computer policy was working however I wasn't able to add our wpa2 key. When I say that I mean I was getting your normal prompt but it would promptly go away.

The user settings seem to work. I did have to use my windows 7 box to edit the GPO because there doesn't appear to be any for XP based machines in XP or 2003 GPM.

Settings:
User -> Admin templates -> network -> network connections

Enable Windows 2000 network connections for administrators - Enabled
Prohibit access to properties of a LAN properties -> Enabled
Prohibit access to the New Connection Wizard - Enable
Prohibit viewing of status for an active connection -> Enabled

User -> Admin templates -> Start menu & Taskbar
Remove Network Connections from start menu - > enabled
Remove network icon from start menu -> Enabled
Remove the networking icon -> Enabled
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