Wireless upgrades sweeping across campus

If the wireless connection in your workspace is a tad tenuous, take heart. A stronger signal very likely is in your future. In the meantime, you and your mobile device will find ready access to the internet in many other university buildings. 

Updates, by building

Find out whether wireless updates for your building are complete, in progress or still to come.

Over the past 15 months, 41 buildings have been outfitted with the latest in wireless access points. Over the next year and a few months, 52 more campus facilities will get similar upgrades.

A team of electrical contractors and information technology services techs are steadily working their way through campus, installing anywhere from 20 to 400 new access points in each building. Mike Broders, senior systems analyst in information technology services, said the number of access points depends on several factors -- building size, construction (wireless signals don't carry as far in old buildings with thick concrete walls) and the number of devices that will be vying for bandwidth (large lecture halls need more).

A year ago, consultants took readings and developed ideal wireless plans for every facility on campus. Those maps help determine the placement of the new access points.

Resembling small white smoke detectors, the access points are considerably more powerful than they look. They're the latest in wireless technology (Wi-Fi 802.11ac) and much faster than the previous high water mark for Wi-Fi (802.11n).*

When they finish early in 2017, the tech teams will have installed more than 4,500 access points in academic and student areas across campus. Some 2,600 access points have been installed thus far, in Bessey, Black, Carver, Coover, Curtiss, Gilman, Hoover, several College of Veterinary Medicine facilities and many other buildings.

These upgrades are part of a project funded by the Computation Advisory Committee, which oversees spending of student technology fees, and central administration. The upgrades are in addition to a separate upgrade to residence halls and the Frederiksen Court apartment complex, completed in August 2014.

* 802.11 references technical specs for wireless networks. Characters added to the end of the number, for example 802.11n or 802.11ac, indicate different iterations of the standard. Generally access points built to the latest standards will be faster and more powerful.

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