Router in a dorm room


May 19, 2011
Hi, this may be a simple question to answer, or it may be totally dependent upon the situation in the dorm, but my son is starting college next week and the school has told us that he will have an ethernet connection in his room.

We'd like to use the ethernet connection to share the Internet connections with his laptop and iPhone, and we'd like to be able to use his printer wirelessly, as necessary.

We don't know the network details - speed, etc. - yet.

Our thought is to purchase a wireless router for the room and connect it via the ethernet to the University's Internet - and make it as secure as possible so that only he and his roommate can access the device. Then they won't be tied to the wired connection, etc.

Here are our questions-

1) if the connection entering the room is Ethernet will he be able to connect that live connection to the router, just is he would connect from the DSL modem at home in order to access the Internet through the wireless router?

2) what do we need to know about the configuration of the network to be able to share the connection with multiple devices through the wireless router, and perhaps with a wired connection to the PC when it is being used at the desk.

3) We are used to using WPA2 security. I am thinking that he would want to enter MAC addresses of the devices to enable them specifically to protect the network. Is that the correct approach?

4) Also, my thought was that since there would be a limited number of people using a very limited number of devices in a limited space, he could look for a relatively low-end b/g/n router for this situation. Access would not be needed outside the room. Probably no more than 2-3 screens at a time. (He's not a gamer. They might be watching videos in the room, but never more than one at a time.) What router or type of router would you recommend?

Thanks for your help.




May 24, 2012
Well, before I answer your questions I should preface this - you will want to make sure that they allow this. Some dorms make you actually authenticate your ethernet mac address before you can connect to their network (UCSC makes their kids do this, I know.)

1) Yes, in theory, it should work fine
2) Call the school and ask them
3) MAC filtering is a little overkill IMO, but you can certainly do it. WPA2 is very secure.
4) Get a cheap Cisco E1200 or something like that. You can look at newegg and get one for around $40. Hope this helps!