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My school's wifi network is open, but requires a login with student account name/password in the browser.

What confuses me is that it asks for this login every time the network is accessed (or every few hours while continuously connected). Is there a reason it has to do that? Why can't the network just remember my computer/phone and let it in every time? (And if this has to do with the browser login, I'm pretty sure I've used similar logins in the past in hotels, and those networks remembered my devices)

Is this set-up due to a security concern?

  • Do you know where you log in? It might be that your WiFi is set up to allow everybody to log in but redirects all traffic to a VPN server onto which you have to login, providing you credentials. So, technically, you don't login to the WiFi but the VPN. Once logged in, it routes your traffic to the internet. (And is probably watching you or at least logging your activities.) It still doesn't make sense that it should kick you that often. – 5gon12eder Feb 5 '17 at 20:50
  • Maybe there are several APs, and your computer is switching from one another. – Ángel Mar 8 '17 at 2:46
  • Not an answer. But if it annoys you, you can use LastPass. Using that, you'll be able to login automatically. – DxTx Apr 9 '19 at 4:36
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Yes, I guess your login is not to the wireless network. The network is open, anyone can connect and probably to surf you have to validate against some captive portal by radius or whatever security mechanism.

So the answer is yes, it is because a security concern. And to know exactly why your login is not remembered we need to know all the details... what kind of login is, etc.

EDIT Probably after login you have a session cookie. That cookie has a life-time. Maybe is expiring after some hours. Is the most common option and probably what is happening to you on that network.

Regarding the kind of logins... There is a lot of web authentication methods (one time passwords, signatures, tokens, cookies, etc). Look at this.

Is not the same a basic HTTP RFC 2617 auth than other login for example and you can make a differentiation only watching it.

First picture is a basic HTTP RFC 2617 login and the second one is an standard form.

login1

login2

  • Thank you for your answer. I just don't understand what you mean by "kind of login." I don't know how to describe it other than one text box for student name, another for password, and a "GO" button. – Shokhet Feb 5 '17 at 19:17
  • I edited my answer. Check it out! – OscarAkaElvis Feb 5 '17 at 19:43

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