Get Started: Students: Technology to Bring

In general, computer systems with higher processing power and greater quantities of RAM will improve performance and extend the usable life of the system. Students majoring in computer intensive academic programs of study, such as Mass Communication, Graphic Design, Engineering, and others, are encouraged to consult with their department before purchasing a computer. These types of academic programs may require computers with higher end specifications to support the software used.
Desktop computers are generally less expensive than laptops or tablets of comparable computing power. However, portability and wireless connectivity can make laptops or tablets a preferred choice as a desktop replacement or second computer. Thoughtful consideration of your study habits in and outside of the classroom will help you choose the right type.

CMU offers students numerous locations around campus with printing capabilities.  MAVPrint, CMU’s campus 'pay to print' system provides printing in residence hall labs, computer labs, the Library, and the University Center, using campus computers or personal computers.

If you want to bring a printer for your dorm room, be sure it can connect to your computer with a USB cable.  WiFi printing for personal printers will NOT work on the CMU network. Your printer must physically connect to your computer.

For black and white printing, laser printers are more cost effective compared to ink-jet printers in terms of the per page cost to print. They are also easier to maintain. Generally, ink jet printers are an acceptable choice for low volume color printing. Again, if you are considering purchasing a printer for your dorm room, be sure you purchase a printer that connects via USB.

Students may be required to purchase specific software for specific courses. In some cases, students will purchase software along with the textbook used for a given class at a nominal cost. Students should not purchase software until advised by instructors.

Do I need to purchase my own Microsoft Office license or a subscription to Microsoft Office 365?  The answer is no.  As a CMU student, you are automatically licensed to use Microsoft Office 365.  This license gives you 1TB of cloud storage via OneDrive, and access to the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Microsoft Project.  These are fully functioning versions of these software applications, and only require an Internet connection; no software needs to installed on your device.  In all there are 24 Microsoft web-based applications provided with Office 365. 

As an additional benefit of your student license, you are able to download and install the full Microsoft Office suite on up to 5 personal devices.  For Windows based computers, the Microsoft Office Suite download includes the following applications: Access, Excel, OneDrive for Business, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Skype for Business, and Word.  For Apple computers, the Microsoft Office Suite download includes the following applications: Excel, OneDrive, Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Word.

Once admitted as a student and you have established your MAVzone account, you can logon to MAVzone and access the Office 365 app.

Consumer based WiFi devices are everywhere today with more and more types of devices being created every day. Popular devices include streaming media devices (Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast), gaming consoles (Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation), Smart TVs, etc.  As these devices are focused on the consumer market, many offer wireless functionality, which works fine with consumer based wireless routers.  However, at CMU, our WiFi network uses enterprise grade security protocols.  Most consumer based WiFi devices are unable to connect to the CMU WiFi and without Internet connectivity the device essentially will not function.

When considering these types of devices for use at CMU, make sure that the device offers an Ethernet connection, or an Ethernet adapter that can connect to the device.  Check with the vendor of the device to determine if this is an option.  If the device supports an Ethernet connection, which is a hard-wired connection, then you should be able to configure the device for Internet access using your dorm room Ethernet jack.  If the device can only connect to the Internet through WiFi, it will not work on the CMU WiFi network.

Considering a TV or Smart TV for your dorm room?  There are two specific details to consider.  First, you need to choose a TV or Smart TV that comes with a QAM Digital tuner.  The tuner is what delivers the channels of programming to your TV.  When you connect your TV to the coax cable in your dorm room, you will need to program your TV to locate all of the channels made available by the cable provider.  If your TV does not have a QAM digital tuner, it will not be able to discover these channels.  Check with the vendor that makes the TV you are considering and confirm it has this type of digital tuner.

The second item to consider deals with Smart TVs.  These televisions come with the ability to connect to various content providers such as Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video for example.  In order for this feature to function, the TV needs to be connected to the Internet.  Be certain that your TV comes with a built-in Ethernet connection or offers an Ethernet adapter.  If your Smart TV only offers WiFi connectivity to the Internet, it will not work on the CMU WiFi.  The TV must connect to the Ethernet port in your dorm room in order to be configured for Internet access.