Computing and Information Technology


Your main source for computing and information technology answers is the website of Brown’s CIS (Computing and Information Services).

Do I need to bring a computer? Should I buy a computer at Brown or before?

Brown does not require students to own a computer. However, students need computers to register for classes, to request advisor changes, and to receive official University communications.  Many professors also use online course support tools that require students to submit required class materials electronically.

Students have three options for computer access: purchase a computer when you arrive at Brown; purchase a computer before you arrive at Brown; or use computers in Brown's student accessible computer facilities.

Brown students, faculty and staff are eligible for discounted pricing on both Apple and Dell computers: Apple through the higher education pricing available from the Brown Computer Store, and Dell through the Brown-Dell Premier program, which offers special rates.

Read more information about Student Computing Options on the CIS website.

Is wireless networking available? Can I bring a wireless hub for my room?

The quick answers are: yes to the first, no to the second.

All residence halls are wireless as well as hard-wired to the Brown network. Personal wireless routers are not allowed in the residence halls because they can interfere with the Brown network. If you use a personal router, you are required to disable wireless capability.

Wireless access is also available in the dining halls, libraries, Faunce House, and many academic buildings. A list of wireless locations at Brown includes information about plans for further expansion of the network. 

When connecting to the wireless network for the first time, we strongly suggest that you use Brown’s secure connection named “Brown-Secure.” Windows computers will require additional software (the Secure W2 client) which is available online. Once this connection is setup, you will have functionality similar to that on the wired network.

Another option is to connect to Brown’s standard wireless connection named “Brown”. For more information on the Brown wireless network and which connection option to use, go to the Wireless FAQ on the CIS website.

What about music downloading at Brown?

Computers provide access to a multitude of entertaining as well as educational media. However, some distribution methods break copyright laws and violate Brown policy. For example, while peer-to-peer file-sharing programs such as Kazaa, Limewire, and BitTorrent have legitimate uses, much of the file-trading that occurs on them constitutes copyright infringement.

As a result, major copyright-holders, like the recording and movie industries, are aggressively monitoring the Internet for infringing activity and are taking legal action (including lawsuits) against those who violate copyright. A significant percentage of those being sued are college students. In addition, Brown will apply its own sanctions (loss of Internet access) for those violating the copyright policy. We want you to be aware of these costly proceedings and remind you of Brown policy and your obligation to do the right thing. Please use legal media sources such as iTunes.

Please review Brown's computing policies on the Student Rights and Responsibilities website, which includes a link to CIS's website, where more information about the University’s computing policies is published.

Where are the public computer clusters on campus?

Computing clusters are located in Brown's two main libraries--Rockefeller and Sciences--and in the Computing and Information Technology building (the CIT). Both Windows and Mac computers are available. Laptop users can plug into the taps of two dozen work stations located in CIT 165, when the room is not in use as a classroom. Lab consultants are available during business hours to assist those working in the clusters.

Additional information about locations and hours of the clusters, as well as what equipment is in each, is available on the CIS website.