Carnegie Mellon University

Tech Quick Start

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

Essentials Checklist  Tools  On-Campus Resources  Support


Essentials Checklist

Before class begins, ensure that you have:


The Right Hardware

To make sure your device is powerful enough to support learning at CMU, we recommend the following or greater.  Always check with your school or instructors, however, as some may have specific hardware requirements.

Hardware Specifications
Processor: Core i5 2.4 GHz
RAM: 16GB
Hard Drive: 512GB SSD
Graphics: Intel® Integrated Graphics
Peripherals
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

Once your device is ready for learning, 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 gaming systems, smart speakers like Alexa or Google Home, and Smart TVs. 

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

OUTDOOR WIRELESS COVERAGE MAP [PDF]

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.
  • 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 https://www.speedtest.net/ and click Go to test your connection.

If your internet connection is poor when learning online, 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 and 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 in class, 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. 
    SUGGESTED HARDWARE
  • CAT 5e Cable - this cable, often referred to as a patch cable connects your laptop to your router. 
    SUGGESTED HARDWARE
  • Wired Adapter - many newer model laptops do not have a wired (ethernet) input, but you can purchase an adapter for your device.
    SUGGESTED HARDWARE

 

VPN for On-Campus Resources

You can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access some on-campus resources, including shared network drives and digital library materials.


Access to Zoom Before Your First Class

Remote learning takes place over Zoom and important course information is shared in Canvas. Don’t wait until right before your first class to get set up. 

Remember to turn on Canvas notifications to ensure you don't miss communications about your courses. 


Access to Email

Your email address is your Andrew userID@andrew.cmu.edu. Check your CMU email regularly for official university messages and updates from your instructors. You can read your email using a browser or an app on your mobile device.

Email basics

After classes start, check out these tools...

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 your 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 up 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

Printers

Working on campus? Print files from your computer to any printer on campus. If you don't have your computer with you, use Web Stations to browse and print your files.
Campus Printing

and access software from wherever you are.

Download Software

Many software programs like think-cell and Autodesk are available for freeVisit our Software Catalog for the full list of programs you can download. 
Software Catalog

Virtual Andrew

You can also use Virtual Andrew to access select software that isn't available for download, like arcGIS or Visual Studio. It's like logging into a Windows computer lab on campus!

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 and Instagram posts on Life@CMU. Follow the hashtags #TechTuesdayCMU and #TechLifeCMU for our latest posts.

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

Self-Service Help

Have a tech question? Check out the Computing Services website for detailed instructions on all of the resources you use.

Still have questions? Contact our Help Center at it-help@cmu.edu or 412-268-4357 (HELP), Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-7:00 pm.