Wireless upgrade nearing completion

Once the upgrade is complete, students will have better wireless Internet access in many campus locations. Photo by Morgan McCririe.

By Nicole Lafond

The IT department has installed around 530 of 650 new wireless Internet access points in residential and non-residential buildings on campus, putting the progress of the campus-wide wireless upgrade ahead of schedule.

The installation of the new access points, or wireless Internet routers, began last semester. The IT department has installed routers in all residential areas on campus and is halfway finished with the non-residential buildings.

The upgrade is still set to be complete by May 2012 but is anticipated to be done by mid-March, according to IT network analyst Mark Green.

Once the department finishes putting access points in non-residential buildings, they will install them outdoors and will continue to fine tune each device.

“Fine tuning means we will be adjusting the power and channel settings on the access points for better coverage with the least amount of interference possible, which should result in a stable and high quality connection for everyone,” Green explained.

Green is very pleased with the progress of the project and the feedback he has gotten.

“I have had a few students and RDs tell me they are very happy with the results,” he said.

Some students have already noticed the improvements, especially in residential areas.

Junior Becca Phipps, who previously told the GlimmerGlass she resorted to looking things up on her phone instead of using the wireless connection in her apartment, has seen a change in the speed of the Internet in the Oaks. This area of campus was one of the worst connection areas on campus, Green said in the Oct. 20 issue of the GlimmerGlass.

“Rarely do I have problems with [the Oaks’ wireless] anymore,” Phipps said. “Actually, it works better than the wireless in the library.”

Sophomore and IT employee Ron Gamache said the upgrade was necessary and successful.

“The connection speed of the wireless Internet after the upgrade is at least twice as fast,” he said. “It should give students the freedom to stay connected, without the wire.”

Upgrade completion is moving along, but it is not  finished. Green advises students, faculty and staff to communicate with the IT department if they feel the wireless coverage isn’t performing as expected. The department will continue to work on fine tuning the coverage in each building.

“Bear with us,” he said, “as we are working to get the settings just right.”

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