Campus Computing News
WIFI Expansion Project Underway
By John Hooper, Chief Information Officer, University Information Technology
University IT, in collaboration with the UNT Systems IT Shared Services division, has begun a project to enhance WIFI on the UNT campus. The project will provide the campus with more wireless connectivity and bandwidth to meet the growing needs of UNT students and faculty.
The nearly $3M project will take two years to complete and will more than triple the number of wireless access points installed across campus. Nearly 1,400 wireless access points (APs) will be added to the existing 600 APs currently installed on campus. Additionally, monitors will be added to the network to aid in detection of unauthorized wireless systems that will interfere with the WIFI network operating on campus.
To meet the needs of our students first, the initial phases of the project will concentrate on academic spaces. The first installations have begun in Sage Hall. Enhancements will also be completed in other buildings by the end of the spring semester including the Auditorium, General Academic, Hickory, Wooten, Art, Chilton, Music, and the Willis Library. More academic spaces as well as some outdoor areas will be completed by the end of the fall 2014 semester.
Wireless devices on the rise
Over the last five years UNT has seen a significant growth of wireless devices on the UNT campus. Wireless devices include laptops, tablets, handheld phones and other devices such as ticket scanners, UNT ID card scanners for various student venues, book scanning for the library, Apple TV’s for classroom instruction, robots for research projects, wireless printing on campus and wireless controllers for power management, irrigation and HVAC systems.
The number of wireless devices on the UNT campus has grown explosively. From 2008 to 2012 the number of unique wireless devices attaching to the UNT network grew from under 40,000 to more than 130,000. Students are a mobile population. According to the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2013, about 90% of students own laptop computers. 75% own smart phones, and the number of tablets owned by students appears to have doubled over the last year, approaching 35%. That student walking across the UNT campus likely has 2 or more active WIFI devices in their backpack.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
A good wireless infrastructure for higher education with adequate coverage and capacity facilitates more collaborative and open learning environments. Fueled by the explosive adoption of mobile devices among students and faculty, instructors can complement classroom instruction with on-line activities to create an integrated learning experience. With anytime, anywhere access to resources, students can conduct schoolwork in unconventional settings—the campus quad, student center, library and other places around the campus. The traditional campus labs are being complemented today by collaborative spaces where adequate wireless coverage, capacities and power are available.