Visiting ACOM with a Laptop

May I bring my laptop computer to ACOM?

We do allow personal or company laptop computers not owned or maintained by UCAR to be brought.  Such computer equipment may not be attached to the wired internal network.  In most cases, you can connect to the wireless SSID "UCAR" which is UCAR's guest wireless network.  In rare cases, usually involving Cisco VPN software that needs to connect to a home institution, we will recommend connecting the laptop to UCAR's wired ethernet "guest" network.

Laptop computers which are attached to our wireless or wired guest computers must have all security updates applied.  Windows PC's must run antivirus software and have antivirus updates applied. 

How do I attach to the wireless guest network?


Our wireless guest SSID is "UCAR".

Connect to this SSID and bring up a browser.  Enter the URL: "".

This takes you to a "heartbeat" page where you may enter your credentials.  Leave the page open so that javascript code within the page keeps the network connection active (refreshing every couple of minutes).  Other browser windows or tabs may be opened, and other internet applications may be started.

Credentials are your UCAS username and password if you have one.  If you don't have a UCAS username, see your sponsor or Sysadmin -- we can set you up with a "Seminar or Other User" login, good for up to 3 days.  All visitors who are here for longer than a week, who need to connect, should apply for a UCAS username. 


May I print from my guest-connected laptop?


We usually suggest using one of our public machines (in the open area FL0-2106) for printing.  We support a PC and a Macintosh connected to the UCAR wired network.  They have access to all of the division's printers.  Laptops on the guest wireless network do not have direct access to ACOM's printers.

What if I need to attach to the UCAR network for my work?


If you need to start a terminal window and log into one of our Unix servers, and if you have a UCAS login and a password token device, "ssh -Y" works.  And from you can enter the name of the machine into which you need to log in -- for example "".

For those rare cases where these options are not sufficient, and for visitors who are here for longer than 1 month, we do offer an option to erase your hard disk and provide our supported operating system image on your laptop.    For the duration of your visit, your laptop is treated as if it is UCAR-owned equipment on our network.  These constraints apply if this option is chosen:

  • A Sysadmin must approve this option
  • Other data on the laptop will be erased (the drive will be reformatted)
  • The laptop must be a supported system -- Macintosh or Dell.  Exceptions are sometimes allowed if the laptop is expected to work with our operating system images.
  • At the end of your visit, any commercial software must be removed -- Microsoft Office for instance.
  • If a spare hard disk is brought, that may be used for our OS image.  At the end of your visit, we can erase the OS image and return the original hard disk with its data.




ACOM | Atmospheric Chemistry Observations & Modeling