List of frequently asked questions and there answers.
Can I bring my own laptop?
Yes. Students are required to have a laptop but are not required to participate in the Mobile Computing Program. If you choose to bring your own, we strongly recommend following these guidelines.
Okay, what's the difference between the Program and my getting my own laptop?
It comes down to support. Briefly, the support you receive via the Mobile Computing Program includes a pre-installed and tested software image, on-campus Help Desk user support, repairs done on campus by RPI staff who are also Dell and Lenovo-certified technicians, and the availability of loaner laptops should a repair require some time to complete.
Not so briefly, Mobile Computing support includes:
A pre-installed software image, which includes:
- Windows 10 Education edition
- Microsoft Office 2016 Professional
Software upgrades -- When Microsoft releases a new OS or Office product, current RPI students who are participating in the Mobile program are entitled to upgrades.
Consulting help -- The Help Desk is available to all students, but members of the Help Desk staff are most productive with the laptops from the Mobile program because they have more experience with these models.
Hardware repairs and loaners -- Current Mobile Computing laptops come with a multi-year vendor warranty, and the repairs can be done right here on campus by Dell and Lenovo-certified technicians. What's more, in the event that a student's laptop does need repairs, a pool of loaner laptops is available so that students participating in the Mobile Computing Program may continue their course work while their machine is being repaired.
Pre-tested connectivity -- Members of the Mobile Computing team test the program laptop in Rensselaer's own campus environment, so we know ahead of time that our laptop will easily connect to the campus network. There is nothing proprietary about our network configuration; we just test our devices on simple things like wireless connectivity and printing.
Reliable hardware vendor -- Dell and Lenovo are quality companies that provides quality products. Please visit the Lenovo website or the Dell website to learn more about Rensselaer's Mobile Computing partners.
Can I also bring my desktop computer?
Yes, you can also bring your desktop computer if you wish. If you want to have two network connections in your residence hall room, you can purchase a switch, but it would be a good idea to check out the space available in your residence hall room first.
Also please note that students are not allowed to have their own personal wireless routers. If you do install a switch, please be aware that the network enforces various security features; if your switch is tries to participate in spanning tree, your network port will automatically become disabled. If your switch acts as a DHCP server, the network port will automatically be disabled. And if we learn excessive MAC addresses from your port, again, your port will be automatically disabled. Additional security features may be implemented by DotCIO at any time to ensure a secure and available campus network.
I'm not an incoming freshman. Do I still need a laptop computer?
Yes, all undergraduate students are required to have a laptop computer, and are entitled to participate in the Mobile Computing Program.
I'm a graduate student. Can I get a laptop computer?
All matriculated RPI students may participate in the Mobile Computing Program. Laptops are distributed on the Troy campus only.
I missed the deadline for ordering a laptop computer! What can I do?
Freshmen and other incoming students for the Fall semester should order their laptops as soon as possible.
All students can join the MCP anytime during the year. Often, the Mobile Computing Program has inventory available and can fill orders in a matter of hours, although in some cases the MCP staff may need to order more inventory from the vendor. Finally, in some cases where it is very late in the academic year, the Mobile Computing team recommends that students wait until the fall and join the upcoming MCP at that time. Keep in mind that the Mobile Computing Program offers new laptop models every fall!
When will I receive my laptop computer?
Laptop distribution is a scheduled event for incoming fall and spring freshmen. For students entering Rensselaer for the fall semester, the distribution is done as a scheduled event during Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond; it is also a scheduled event for students entering in January.
If you purchase a laptop package and are not part of the incoming class, you can usually pick up your laptop at the scheduled events right before the start of classes. If you order your laptop during the school year, you can usually pick it up within a day or two after placing your order.
Is there a network connection in my residence hall room?
Every room in the residence halls has a wired network connection for each student, and RPI wireless is also available in all residence halls. Please note that students are not permitted to have their own personal wireless routers. Students will need to bring their own ethernet cable if they will be using the wired ethernet. It may also be necessary to purchase a dongle to connect a laptop to the wired ethernet (some laptops do not have dedicated ethernet ports any longer).
Please refer to the Networking/Remote Access section of this website to learn more about networking or to submit a problem report.
How do I print? Do I need to buy a printer?
Once connected to the network, you can access the public printers located in every computer classroom, the public computing labs and public areas, and several residence halls. There is a semesterly allowance for 8.5x11 black and white printing through these printers, and charges for color or poster printing are posted to the bursar bill. Infomation about printing services and charges can be found at our Printing Services pages.
You can bring your own printer, but we recommend waiting until you are on campus to decide if you really want to purchase one. Keep in mind that wireless printers have a wireless signal and therefore act as a personal wireless router, which are not allowed on campus.
Several printer models are available through the Rensselaer Collegiate Store.
How do I get my laptop computer repaired?
Warranty services are available through Rensselaer Computing Repair (RCR), which is located on the basement level of the Voorhees Computing Center. If you participate in the Mobile Computing Program, a limited number of "loaner" laptops may be available on a "first come, first serve" basis in the unlikely instance that your computer may need extensive repairs.
What about insurance?
The Mobile Computing Program does not provide insurance for loss. You should check with your insurance to determine what, if any, coverage you may already have through your homeowners' or other personal property policies.