I work in several schools as basic on-site tech support. At one school (a middle school), students have figured out how to unplug out wireless access points from their jacks. Is there some standard of cable or plug that could be screwed into place to prevent easy removal?

  • 5
    Why is the network equipment even accessible to them? May 18 '11 at 15:58
  • The access points have to be scattered throughout the building, and they plug into existing network drops. We're limited by the locations of existing drops in the classrooms.
    – rmart
    May 18 '11 at 16:00
  • 2
    Ha! Classroom/School IT installations - been there, done that. In my time it was fashionable to jam pencils into the BNC connectors or RJ45 sockets. Also had fun with some s**t who ran a stapler up a few keyboard leads so that they blew the keyboard power line motherboard fuses. Now get off my lawn.
    – Linker3000
    May 18 '11 at 16:16
  • Get a cabinet with a lock on it May 19 '11 at 0:38

You need a Plug Lock-in Device from Panduit. We use them on MPLS and PRI circuits in a shared telco closet in our building to keep techs from other telco's or over-zealous admins from unplugging them and taking our whole office offline. Keep in mind you need adequate clearance around the plug... I found that they don't work to well on my Ruckus wireless AP's because the plug is receded into the device slightly. I don't know what AP's you have but hopefully it will work for you.

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  • Keep in mind if they are truly malicious they can just cut the cord or pull REALLY hard. May 18 '11 at 16:09
  • This is pretty much exactly what I'm envisioning. Requiring a special tool to remove them might actually be a little overkill. Ideally it would just require a screwdriver to prevent casual removal, but there's probably not a market for that level of (un)security :)
    – rmart
    May 18 '11 at 16:40
  • @rmart: Possesion of a screwdriver is an obstacle? I think not - I have been carrying a mini (flat+Philips) screwdriver on my keychain for ages, possibly since middle school (well okay, I am a geek and all, but still); security by hardware obscurity might work here. May 18 '11 at 21:00

Totally not a shopping recommendation, but you could probably do with an external enclosure combined with a strange bolt to keep their grubby little hands off the equipment.

  • This will probably be more compatible with a wider range of devices... Do you think it might shield the wireless signal on AP's with internal antenna? Either way +1 great suggestion, since most good AP's have external antenna plugs anyway... May 18 '11 at 16:12
  • 6
    Plastics tend to not interfere with EM waves. May 18 '11 at 16:15

You could just clip a little bit off the end of the tab that holds the plug in the socket. This means they won't be able to unclip the tab to pull it out, but you can still get it out with a flat head screwdriver or similar.

It's what we do here on some things that are accessible to them.

  • Actually, I really like that idea. It's free, and prevents accidental or casually malicious problems.
    – rmart
    May 19 '11 at 16:06

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