• University of Manchester: Hornet

TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a University > University Guides > University of Manchester > Hornet


Basic Information

Hornet (Halls of Residence NETwork) provides internet service to all halls of residence run by the University of Manchester, as well as a few selected private halls, listed here. This page does not cover HornetPlus, which is a separate ISP for students living in private houses.

Connected rooms are fitted with a RJ45 socket that provides a 100Mbps connection to the university's resources, and a 10Mbps connection to external addresses (the rest of the internet). There is no cap to the amount of data that users can send or receive over the network. However, the university does actively police the network for users whose computers are displaying erratic behaviour and making excessive use of the network resources, and users who break the T&Cs may be fined, disconnected and/or prosecuted as appropriate.

A Hornet connection provides:

  • A full internet connection for standard activities - web browsing, file transfer, email, remote login, etc.
  • The ability to access multimedia resources over the internet (e.g. music, internet radio, video, etc.). Limitations exist in relation to accessing some online file sharing services for copyright reasons.
  • The ability to communicate over the internet - instant messaging and chat applications, Skype, etc.
  • Full access to electronic resources and the University of Manchester data network, including access to services such as the John Rylands University Library databases and to departmental file-servers.
  • IPTV - Freeview over ethernet (via Freewire).

The service includes rental of the line for the specified period and full support. The connection period is until you leave the Hall, or until the start of the new academic year, whichever is the earlier - so if you stay in Hall over the vacation periods, including the summer, you'll still have the connection.

Connection transfers between university-managed halls are possible and involve no extra cost. However, it is not possible to transfer connections between private and university-managed halls or vice versa

How to connect


In order to activate the internet in your room you need to register with Hornet using the student portal. Depending on which hall you live in, and which uni you study at, the sign up process differs.

If you're registering at the start of a new academic year, you won't be able to register your account or activate your connection until the portal opens for that years' registration. This date is set and publicised by Hornet, but is often at the start of Fresher's week.

There are two main ways to sign up:

  • You can sign up directly from your room - just plug your computer in, open up your web browser, and follow the instructions that should appear
  • You can sign up in university clusters, the libraries, or by using a mate's internet connection

There are also a few Hornet terminals placed around in the halls themselves.

Before you try signing up, make sure you have the following details at hand:

  • Your room details (Block, flat, room)
  • Your username and password provided by the university on course registration.
  • Your MAC Address. (Make sure it's your ethernet card, not your wireless adapter).
  • Contact phone number.
  • A valid email address, that you check regularly.

If you are not a UoM or a MMU student then you'll only need a valid email address and the rest of the details.

You also need:

  • A computer! (Clean of all virus and spyware - see below)
  • An ethernet cable. (Patch, not crossover - see below)
What happens after I've registered with Hornet?

You will need to reboot your computer after you have finished the registration process!

If you are living in University of Manchester halls then you should be done at this point! It may take up to 24 hours for your connection to start working, but it is often a lot quicker. If it doesn't start working after this length of time, please log back into the portal and report a problem to Hornet.

If however, you are living in a private hall, then after registration you will need to go to reception and pay the connection fee. Your internet won't work until after you've paid.

If you have any problems after you've registered through the portal, log back into the portal and report a problem to the Hornet team who will contact you via the same site.

Hornet usually run information sessions during Freshers' Week each year, to answer any questions that residents may have about Hornet, the registration process, sell patch cables and offer support for the service. These take place in certain halls, and Hornet also often have a stand at the Freshers' Fair.

What cable will I need?

A cable is usually provided for free and is waiting in your room upon arrival.

It is an Ethernet patch cable (Cat 5 - RJ45). This should fit directly into both the data socket in your wall and your computer's networking card. Be careful that you don't try to use an Ethernet crossover cable - these are used for connecting two PCs together, and will not work with Hornet.

The correct cables can be bought from both Manchester and MMU's students' unions, IT Services, and local computer supplies shops (such as Maplins - opposite the BBC on Oxford Road), as well as elsewhere. If you buy your cable from a shop, or bring one from home, make sure it's of the right type!

Can't I use wireless?


Hornet has a strict and actively enforced policy against student-run wireless networks. The short explanation can be found here, a longer, more technical explanation here.

The university has its own WiFi network, avaible in the Main Library and many other university buildings, but neither this nor commercial WiFi networks currently extend to University halls. For information on accessing these elsewhere on campus, see here.

What's a MAC address, and how on earth do I find mine?

Every network device has a MAC address (Media Access Control) to uniquely identify themselves on a network.

Upon registration, the "MAC address" field is usually automatically populated, if it's not there are instructions to help find it here.

Check the safety & security of your computer

Before you connect to the network you must make sure that your computer is safe and secure. Failure to do so may often lead to a disconnection and in certain circumstances a reconnection fee.

It is essential to have:

  • The latest Operating System updates
  • Up to date virus protection (University of Manchester students see here for details on acquiring Sophos or MacAfee antivirus packages for free under the university's site license)
  • An enabled firewall (for Windows XP or better users, the inbuilt firewall will suffice)
  • A system password

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change my MAC address on the portal?

Login through the Hornet Web Portal (located on the left hand side of this page) with your username and password. When you're in, click on 'Show Further Details' on the left hand side below your details, and then click on 'Change Details'. From there you will be able to change your MAC address. There is also an automated button which will attempt to find your current MAC address. Remember to submit the new details at the end, otherwise it won't save your changes.

It says my MAC address is already in use, what do I do?

Please make sure you have got the correct MAC address, you may have misread or mistyped in yours.

Quite recently, with the release of Windows Vista, a lot of people tried to register with the MAC address

02-00-54-55-4E-01 .

This is the first thing that appears after typing in 'ipconfig/all' but it isn't the correct one. You will need to scroll up to the heading 'Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection'.

If however there is another person with the same MAC address as you, then log the problem on the portal (If you haven't registered yet, just register with a made up MAC address so that you can log the problem).

Are any VOD (Video on Demand) services allowed - like BBC iPlayer or 4oD?


Make sure it's legal streaming though and not illegal sharing!

How do I set up my Xbox 360 to connect to Xbox Live?

Fortunately with the 360 there is an option to change its MAC address. What most people do is register with their laptop/deskptop MAC address and change the 360's MAC to match it. This way you will only have to swap the cables round between the two devices. Please note you are not allowed to have any routers, switches, hubs in order to connect multiple devices.

How do I set up my PS3 to connect to PSN?

Unfortunatey with the PS3 there is no option to change its MAC address. In this case you will have to register the PS3's MAC address on the portal and change your laptop/desktop's MAC to match it.

On most computers, you have the option to change the MAC address of the network card. This means you could change your computer's MAC address to match that of your PS3.

Change the MAC address in Windows

Go to Start -> Control Panel. Double click on Network Connections (inside Network and Internet Connections category in Windows XP). The, right click on the active network connection with network adapter that you want to change the MAC address (normally Local Area Network or Wireless Network Connection) and click on Properties. Above steps work in Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. For Windows Vista, access to NIC’s properties is from Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Manage Network Connections.

Alternatively, if you already know which network adapter that’s responsible for your network or Internet connection, go to Device Manager and open the properties dialog by double click on the NIC itself.

In the General tab, click on the Configure button. Click on Advanced tab. In the Property section, select and highlight Network Address or Locally Administered Address. To the right, “Not Present” radio button is by default selected as value. Change the value by clicking on radio button for Value:, and then type in a new MAC address to assign to the NIC.

The MAC address consists of 6 pairs of numbers (0 – 9) and characters (A – F) combination. For example, 88-17-E8-90-E2-0A. When entering the new MAC value, omit the dash (-), for example 8817E890E20A.

Click OK when done.

How do I get my University username and password set up for Hornet?

University of Manchester

When you finally register at the University you will be given an student ID card ("library card"). On this card will be your University ID Number, which you'll need to set up your IT account. You can do this from your bedroom before you sign up for Hornet or use one of the computer clusters located all around campus. To sign up at one of the computer clusters, use these following details to log in at the blue screen:

Username: signup

Password: signup

Once logged in, it will take you directly to the https://iam.manchester.ac.uk website and from there you will be able to retrieve your University username and choose a password.

Manchester Metropolitan University

For MMU users, your University ID is the first 8 digits of your UCAS ID, and your password is your Date of Birth in a particular format (eg 10th January 1988 = 10Jan88). Remember that the first letter of the month has to be upper case.


Please note that these troubleshooting tips are for Windows based systems.

I can't get past the Hornet page!

As MAC addresses are now automatically detected, 9 time out of 10 this problem happens after registration has finished and you NEED TO REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER!

If you want to check to see if your MAC address is correct, try running "ipconfig /all" again, and looking for the one underneath "Ethernet Adaptor Local Area Connection". An easy way to spot the one you're looking for is to leave your computer plugged into the wall, and look for the one with "halls.manchester.ac.uk" listed. Wireless or tunnel adaptors are no good.

If you're a Mac user, then double check you selected the Ethernet interface when you were looking for the MAC address. It's easy to forget, and to end up taking down the AirPort one, which is no good for Hornet.

Room Number

Please check that you have registered in the correct room. Failure to do so will enable a live connection in a different room rather than yours. It will also mean that the person living in the incorrect room that you registered in won't be able to sign up as their room number won't be available on the list.

Unfortunately, if you have realised that you have registered in the wrong room you won't be able to amend your room number yourself. The best thing to do is to go to the halls reception and ask them to change it for you.

IP settings

Auto IP Address
If your connections show up as being connected but you can't view any websites then the most likely problem is that you are using a manually inputted IP (Internet Protocol) address.

In order for your connection to work you must set your TCP/IP settings to 'Automatically Obtain an IP address'.

To do this in Windows, go to the START menu, then RUN and type in 'ncpa.cpl'. This will take you to the network connections window. Right click on 'Local Area Connection' and select properties. Double click on 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)' and you'll be able to check if your IP settings are correct.

NIC Drivers

In order for your Network Card to work it must have the correct drivers installed. Normally if you have brought your computer/laptop from a retailer it will have it pre-installed.

If you're having a problem with faulty network card drivers, then a Hornet Rep will be able to help you install correct or up to date drivers.

High Internet Security

Certain third party internet security packages (such as Norton or Kaspersky) can block a high amount of internet traffic, and so you might find that MSN Messenger or your web browser isn't working.

If you have problems with this, it might be worthwhile to lower these settings or make sure that the specific programs that you use are unblocked (the method of doing this differs between software packages - if you don't know how to do this, check with the manual or user help page for the sofftware you use).

Also, although it may seem like a good idea, it isn't recommended to have two firewalls or antivirus scanners running at the same time, as they can conflict with each other and do more harm than good.

Duplex Settings on NIC

NIC Duplex Settings

Your NIC duplex speed settings must be set to 'AUTO' as an incorrect settings may lead to a 'Cable Unplugged' message in Windows (Speed set too high) or an unstable connection (Speed set too low).

To check the settings in Windows, go to the START menu, then RUN and type in 'ncpa.cpl'. In the Network Connections menu right click on Local Area Connection and select Properties. Next in the new window that has popped up click on the 'Configure' button and this will lead you to your NIC properties. Select the 'Advanced' tab' and you will be able to check your 'Speed & Duplex' settings on your NIC.

Local Area Connection not enabled

Disabled LAN

When trying to retrieve your MAC address but after typing in 'ipconfig/all' in the command prompt and no information is displayed in regards to your Network Card then you may find that your 'Local Area Connection' is disabled.

Enabling LAN

To enable your Ethernet in Windows, go to 'START' then 'RUN' and in the box type in 'ncpa.cpl'. When the Network Connections window has popped up, right click on 'Local Area Connection' and select 'Enable'.

Proxy Settings

Proxy Settings

If you have managed to get connected (obtain an IP address) but for some reason web pages don't load then the problem might be to do with your proxy settings.

Please unclear any proxy settings that you may have set up from a previous connection in order for your connection to work

Reporting a Problem

If you have fully registered for the internet service in your room and followed our troubleshooting guides but the Internet still doesn't work in your room, then you can report a problem on the Hornet web portal.

To access this portal you can either use one of the Hornet Terminals or go to the Hornet web portal

After the problem has been logged onto the system a Hornet Rep will be assigned to your problem. Please ensure that you do come back and check the portal again for possible recommended solutions as the Hornet Rep will reply to your problem via the portal. You will get notification of this via email. If you do not check the portal after the Hornet Rep has replied, you will be given a certain time frame - usually 48 hours - to reply. If you don't reply within that time, it will be assumed that the problem has been fixed and the problem will be closed.

Usually if a problem persists and it cannot be fixed via messaging, then a Hornet Rep will arrange an appointment to visit you, so that they can physically check your computer.

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