Here are a few accessories we think are most important to students.
- Ethernet cable – Although there is widespread wireless coverage on campus, the residence halls are not completely covered by wireless yet. As of Fall 2016, about half will feature campus-provided wireless coverage, and by Fall 2017, the plan is that all will be covered. In residence halls that do not have wireless built in yet, many students bring a wireless access point and set up their own wireless network, which is allowed provided you adhere to some basic rules. You can buy Ethernet cables at the N.C. State Bookstore for a lower price than you will find in most stores.
- Printer – Each student is not required to own a printer, but it definitely is convenient. In general, we suggest that students coordinate with their roommate; one printer per room should be enough. Students also have the option to print to networked laser printers all over campus for a few cents per page. See WolfPrint for more details.
- Online Storage – students are given 2 GB of AFS space (NCSU-hosted network storage) as well as ‘unlimited’ space on Google Drive via NCSU.
- USB memory key (a.k.a. flash drive, pen drive) – A USB key is a common device for making backups of documents and transferring files between computers. They are easy to use and undoubtedly handy to have.
- External hard drive – An external hard drive has much greater capacity than a USB key and is also nice for backing up and storing large files like music, movies, or other multimedia files.
We recommend at least a 3-year manufacturer warranty. Warranties cover defect and parts that fail through no fault of the user.
Accidental Damage Protection
Accidents happen. If you’d like to protect against these occurrences, you will have to add a protection plan of some type. A warranty covers parts that break on their own through a defect, but not parts that break in an accident, e.g., drops or liquid spills. That is where accidental damage coverage helps.
Some computer manufacturers (like Dell and Lenovo) sell accidental damage protection that is an add-on to the warranty. For example, if you drop your laptop and break the screen, it would not be covered by warranty, but it would be covered by accidental damage protection. There are also third-party companies that will cover accidental damage for computers as well, including Apple.
Loss due to theft is not covered by warranties but may be covered by insurance. Theft may already be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, so check your policy for the deductible and other details. If it is not already covered, you may be able to add a rider for it.
One way to prevent the loss of your laptop is to purchase a laptop lock for use when you will be away from your laptop in populated areas, like the library, for prolonged periods of time. With this, you can lock your laptop to a specific item, such as a desk or table, to prevent theft.
N.C. State is not a particularly dangerous place, but just like any densely populated area, the risk of theft does exist. Use good judgement and keep your valuables near you.