New SSID «eth-5» at ETH Zurich

Until now ETH Zurich has been using the SSIDs eth, public, and eduroam (SSID = Service Set Identifier – public name of a wireless network).

SSID «eth-5»

From now on, start using the new SSID «eth-5». If you do not see this SSID on your device, the SSID «eth» (or the new SSID «public-5» and the current SSID «public», respectively) continue to be available.

For users with no previous experience connecting with SSID eth or «eth-5» there is a guide for Windows and other operating systems at and


With the new SSIDs we hope to improve wireless performance despite the large increase in demand.

Background Information

As of Thursday February 16 2012 our access points have two new SSIDs («eth-5»and «public-5»). These SSIDs are set to run on the 5 GHz band only and are preferred by the IT Services (ITS). The current SSIDs, «eth» and «public» will henceforth transmit on the slower 2.4 GHz band. Client settings for «eth-5» and «eth» are identical as are the settings for «public-5» and «public».

The above modifications allow the user to choose the frequency band, based on SSID, best suited for his purposes. Until now the frequency band was determined by the client driver which meant that many clients were connected to the slower 2.4 GHz band.

Some clients (e.g. «smart phones») can only operate in the 2.4 GHz band and the new SSIDs will not show up on those devices.

Frequency Bands

Wireless LAN uses two unlicensed frequency bands. The 2.4 GHz band is used by the b/g-standard whereas the a-standard operates in the 5 GHz frequency band. Access points at ETH Zurich are all dual radio which send and receive on both of the above frequencies. The new standard is enabled on both frequency bands.


The following reasons explain why we do not recommend the 2.4 GHz band:


  • Only three non-overlapping channels are available. Although they do not interfere with each other they are insufficient for large-scale Wi-Fi coverage.
  • Frequency is lower than in the 5 GHz range. WLAN remains a shared media technology and the slowest link determines speed.
  • There are some uncontrollable «jammers» such as «bluetooth» that use the same frequency band.

Support/ Contact

First point of contact for WiFi support is your Informatics Support Group/ISG (department contacts)

ITS Service Desk is also available for further information.

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