Internet Access

There are two options for connecting to the Internet while you are at Oxford.

  • Wired – the best and fastest option. All College rooms are equipped with wired network ports/access points.
  • Wireless – slower and may be affected by many other users and devices connecting to the SSID. To connect to the wireless networks, as well as your SSO credentials you must have a remote access password (see below).

For each option you must have set up your Single Sign On (University email account access), as you will need your Single Sign On (SSO) credentials – i.e. your SSO username, e.g. ball1234, and password.

Remote access password

You can set a remote access password here. A new remote access password can take up to an hour to sync through the system.

Wired College network

Ruckus H510 Wireless Access Point
Access point.

If your room has one of the access points pictured right, connect your computer’s network cable into any of the four wired sockets on the bottom of the access point.

Important: Our monitoring software will report a fault if an access point is disconnected in College. We may make a £15 service charge if we visit a room to maintain an access point and find that it has been deliberately disconnected from the mains or the network. We are unable to turn off the flashing lights on the access point. If you wish, you can cover the side of the access point with a sock, piece of card, etc.

If your room doesn’t have one of these boxes, it will have a wall port near or under your desk to connect a network cable into. (Note that the top two floors of Staircase XXII do not have wall ports in the room. Here you will need to rely on WiFi for connection to the network.)

  • Open a web browser and type in ‘exam​ple​.com’ (yes, actually type exam​ple​.com) and you will be re-directed to a registration page.
  • Click the link below ‘SSO Balliol College Account Holders’ and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • To get the screen above, your computer needs to have its network address set to ‘Automatic’ or ‘DHCP’ and private MAC addressing must be disabled. This is standard for most computers.

Wireless network

Wireless network access is available throughout the College including all common rooms, teaching rooms and accommodation. There are four wireless SSIDs broadcast in Balliol:

  • Eduroam: University-provided network for use with computers and mobile devices for use by anyone in an academic institution who has set up Eduroam access. Login via SSO + remote access password. (This can be an SSO for the user’s home institution, enabled for eduroam, e.g. abcd1234@​kent.​ac.​uk, and its associated remote access password.) Instructions can be found via central IT help pages.
  • OWL:
    • University-provided network for use with VPN software. Not suitable for mobile devices. Login via SSO + remote access password + VPN client.
    • University-provided network for Academic Visitors (OWL-visitor). Your passwords are distributed by your conference organisers. Login via time-limited credentials.
  • Balliol: In-house wireless system for Balliol members’ computers.
  • Balliol Guest: In-house system for College guests. Login via time-limited password. This is not intended for student use.

Which wireless SSID should I use?

Members of Balliol should generally use eduroam, as it is available not only in College but also in all other parts of the University, or Balliol. A few legacy Oxford websites still require OWL.

Academic visitors should use eduroam if they are set up for it at their home institution, or OWL if this has been set up in advance through their conference organiser.

While wireless is available in all parts of the College, it is impossible to guarantee that all devices will have a strong signal everywhere. In particular we have found that older models of Mac hardware are not able to roam easily in a commerical WiFi set-up. We recommend that all students come to College with dongles and cables to connect to the wired network in their rooms.


To use VPN (virtual private network) to access University systems, please refer to the University’s help page on connecting to the VPN.

You must not provide others with your VPN credentials. Sharing your credentials with anyone, including family members, is strictly forbidden. Central IT Services monitor VPN usage and if there are two VPN connections with the same username from different locations, your account will be blocked.

How do I get help?

If you have problems setting up your computer to use the Internet, we will help you. Please contact the Balliol Helpdesk by email at or 01865 617135

The University also provides this resource to help students and staff connect to Eduroam.

Note that whilst we will assist you to connect to the network and will help counter virus infections, other problems with your computer remain your concern.