Carnegie Mellon University

Tech Quick Start

Get your tech ready for the semester! Follow our guidelines below to get started.

Essentials Checklist  Prepare to Teach  Remote Access Options  Collaborate Online   Access Software    Support

Essentials Checklist

Before class begins, ensure that you have:

The Right Hardware

If you are using a personal computer to teach at CMU, we recommend the following configuration or greater to ensure your device is powerful enough to support your teaching needs.  Note that programs using specialized software may be subject to requirements for specific hardware or peripherals.  

Hardware Specifications
Processor: Core i5 2.4 GHz
Hard Drive: 512GB SSD
Graphics: Intel® Integrated Graphics
Microphone (if not included)
Webcam (If not included)
Headset (optional)

If you require new hardware or peripherals, the CMU Tech Store is available to assist with your purchase for delivery or pick up.

A Secure Device

Whether you are using a university-owned or personal computer for teaching, be sure to update your operating system, apps, and antivirus software.  It's important to secure your device before connecting to shared CMU resources on campus such as the network or Virtual Andrew.

Adequate Internet

On Campus

We've got this one covered. Our campus wireless networks provide all the bandwidth you need. 

  • Use CMU-SECURE for your wireless connection on campus.
  • Use CMU-DEVICE to connect your smart devices, including smart speakers like Alexa or Google Home and Smart TVs. 

If you experience Wi-Fi issues indoors, contact our Help Center.


Off Campus

We recommend the following internet configuration for the best class experience:

  • You will need a broadband connection with a download and upload speed of at least 3.0 Mbps per person in your household for Zoom.
  • If broadband is not available in your area, a cellular data connection of at least 4G capability (5-50 Mbps) or 5G (50-2000 Mbps).
  • Visit and click Go to test your connection. 

Tips for Connecting Off-campus

If your internet connection is poor, consider the following:

  • Try a wired (ethernet) connection. Be aware that you may need an ethernet adapter for your laptop.
  • Check your wireless router. Make sure your router is under five years old, uses Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security certification and supports both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands.
  • Re-position your device. Move closer to your Wi-Fi router to increase the strength of the wireless signal to your laptop or mobile device.
  • Avoid performing large file transfers. Your upload speeds will always be slower than your download speeds. Wait until after class to move large files to and from the cloud or across a network.
  • Zoom smart. Virtual backgrounds and HD video are great Zoom features, but they will degrade your bandwidth. Turn them off for a better online experience.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If others on your Wi-Fi network are using streaming services such as Netflix while you're working, it could impact your Zoom experience. Sync up your schedules with those closest to you to avoid connectivity issues.

If adjusting these items still does not improve your experience, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

It might be time to update the equipment in your home, such as:

  • Router - allows you to connect to your internet provider's service. 
  • CAT 5e Cable - this cable, often referred to as a patch cable connects your laptop to your router. 
  • Wired Adapter - many newer model laptops do not have a wired (ethernet) input, but you can purchase an adapter for your device.

Take advantage of eduRoam.
To address poor internet connectivity, locate a regional eduRoam partner, and use the shared internet resources at their location.

Set Up Printers

Install campus printers on your computer or mobile device to print to many locations on campus.

Campus Printing

Access to Zoom

All remote classes will be taught using Zoom, CMU’s web conferencing solution for synchronous class sessions. Be prepared in advance. Follow our instructions to log in to Zoom with SSO and get started today!

Already a Zoom pro? Be sure your application is up to date to ensure you have the latest features and security enhancements. 

Access to Email and Calendar

Your email address is your Andrew You may have a Google or Exchange email account and calendar depending on your department. Visit our online resources for guidance on setting up your email and scheduling meetings.

You can also read your email using a web browser or an app on your mobile device.

Prepare to Teach

All remote and hybrid classes will use Zoom for synchronous teaching.

Design your Hybrid or Remote Course

Follow Eberly Center’s guidance to design your hybrid and remote courses. 


Understand Technology for Course Delivery

Many courses will be offered in a hybrid model while others may be fully remote.  We've got the technology and resources to support both!


Prepare Your Students

Direct your students to their own Tech Quick Start to prepare for a smooth remote or hybrid learning experience. This guide includes recommendations for computer hardware, internet bandwidth, and information for installing and using Zoom.


Remote Access Options

homecomputer300x-300.svgVPN for On-Campus Resources

When you connect your computer or mobile device to a CMU Virtual Private Network (VPN), your device will act as if it's on campus and your connection will be encrypted for increased security. The following options are available:

  • Campus VPN - best for general access to CMU resources like printing and shared network drives.  Provides an encrypted connection for when you're using campus resources, such as campus printers and shared network drives.
  • Full VPN - just like being on campus. All of your online activity is encrypted and redirected through the CMU network. You may notice decreased performance when connecting to this option as all of your activity will be tunneled through the CMU network.

class300x-300.svgConnect to Resources from Remote Locations

  • Use the Virtual Andrew desktop client for remote access to a Windows desktop. This allows you to use the software, such as browsers and other applications, installed on our Computer Lab machines.
  • When teaching remotely or internationally, consider using the Full VPN option to encrypt and route your online activity through the CMU network.  Although this may improve your access to campus resources, it will also slow your internet speed.
  • Consider posting your course resources in Canvas to simplify access for students.
  • Still have questions? Contact our Help Center at or 412-268-4357 (HELP), Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-7:00 pm.

Collaborate Online

Share Files

Use Google Drive or Box to share, store and collaborate on files. Visit our File Storage Comparison page to determine which option is best for you.

File Storage Comparison

Chat with a Group

Want to send direct messages to a person or a small group? Try Google Chat. You can communicate with people throughout CMU using a browser or the mobile app. 

Google Chat

Meet Virtually

Collaborate virtually using CMU Zoom or Google Meet. Visit our Web Conferencing Comparison page to determine which option is best for you.

Web Conferencing Comparison

Use your Desk Phone Remotely

Make or receive phone calls from your desk phone remotely with Jabber. Your outgoing calls will have a CMU caller ID and you'll have the functionality of your desk phone on your computer or mobile device.

Or forward your desk phone to a cell or home phone so you don't miss an important call.

Cisco Jabber

Access to Software

Download Software

Many programs like Microsoft Office are available at no costVisit our Software Catalog for the full list of programs you can download. 

Software Catalog

If you are on campus, install the new printer to use printers across campus. Scanning and copying are also available at select locations.

Campus Printing

Virtual Andrew

Use Virtual Andrew for remote access to a number of software titles from your Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android devices. This is a great option when software is not available for download or cannot be run on your personal computer due to hardware limitations. 

Virtual Andrew

Cloud Applications

Microsoft Office and Google for Education's suite of tools can be accessed through a web browser, making them the perfect option for any device. You can also download Microsoft Office for free from the Software Catalog.

We're Here for You!

News and More

Stay up to date on tech upgrades and tips with our feature news articles. Follow the hashtags #TechTuesdayCMU and #TechLifeCMU on YouTube and Instagram for our latest posts.

View the status of services you use daily, like wireless, email and file storage.

Self-Service Help

Want to learn a new software program or skill? LinkedIn Learning provides thousands of training videos and tutorials on topics ranging from programming languages to strategic thinking and more.

Have a tech question? Check out the Computing Services website for detailed instructions on all of the resources you use. If you still need help, reach out to the Help Center

For help with an in-progress class, contact Media Tech.