ITS working to improve USC wireless
Posted August 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm in News
Wireless Internet at the University Park Campus and the Health Sciences Campus is being upgraded and should already be providing a stronger, more reliable connection in some locations, according to Information Technology Services officials.
ITS, which first announced its wireless initiative in April, began working with the Undergraduate Student Government and the Strategic Technology Forum over the summer to understand student concerns about wireless Â Internet on campus and to search for the best solution, said Kevin Durkin, director of communications and marketing for ITS.
âWe heard loud and clear that the No. 1 interest for most people is to have better wireless,â Durkin said. âThat will definitely happen with this [initiative].â
ITS and USG have not had a close relationship in the past, said Chris Cheng, USG president, but after hearing many students express the need for better wireless Internet on campus during his presidential campaign, Cheng immediately planned meetings with ITS after the election.
âWe want to make wireless ubiquitous across campus,â Cheng said. â[ITS is] very supportive of the student government and we can appreciate that a lot. Itâs been going extremely well.â
The increased use of mobile devices has forced ITS to look at newer technology to accommodate for laptops, mobile phones and other devices that access wireless Internet on the USC campuses, Durkin said.
âWhat really drove this frankly was really student use and faculty use,â Durkin said. âMost, if not all users, rely more on the wireless network [than Ethernet].â
ITS and the Strategic Technology Forum, an advisory board of IT leaders across campus, chose a new wireless infrastructure at the beginning of summer with plans to double the number of university access points by the end of the calendar year. The old equipment supported 1,578 access points, and the new infrastructure will replace those existing access points and install more.
âThis new equipment is really a leap from our old equipment,â Durkin said. âAll 3,500 new access points are much better than the previous kind.â
More than 35,000 devices have already used the new access points that have been installed. ITS does not yet have an exact number of how many new access points have been installed, Durkin said, but work is still ongoing.
âTheyâre actually trying to hit the more heavily used areas first,â he said. âThe work is moving along at a clip.â
Some students on campus have already noticed a difference in the strength of the wireless.
âThe connection is definitely stronger. I have more bars for the signal,â said Brittany Younger, a senior majoring in psychology.
Yet, some spots on campus can still be troubling for students to find a strong wireless connection.
âI just kind of move if itâs not working,â said Lillian Ware, a senior majoring in environmental engineering. âI think itâs great that theyâre trying to make it better.â
Students should begin to notice a difference more as the semester goes on, Durkin said. Birnkrant Residential College, for example, is the first dorm on campus to be fully rewired.
âYou should never really notice anything less than what you had before,â said Durkin who confirmed that students will never be without wireless as new access points and wiring are installed. âWe are swapping out the old and putting in the new âŠ itâs a seamless thing.â