North Texas Daily

Wi-fi expansion project on UNT campus increases connection

Wi-fi expansion project on UNT campus increases connection

Wi-fi expansion project on UNT campus increases connection
February 04
19:09 2014

Steven James // Staff Writer

Wi-Fi access points on the UNT campus will be tripled over the next two years in a $3 million project conducted by UNT’s and UNT System’s University Information Technology department.

The expansion will bring the total to about 2,100 access points on campus after students and faculty complained about the lack of available Wi-Fi and Internet connections around campus.

“We talked to focus groups with students who wanted us to do something about the Wi-Fi,” said John Hooper, vice provost for IT and chief information officer. “The campus has experienced a whole expansion of mobile devices. I’m pretty sure that most students on this campus have at least two mobile devices that would easily hook up to Wi-Fi, whether it’s a smartphone and a tablet, or a smartphone and a laptop.”

From 2008 to 2012, the number of mobile devices used by the UNT community increased from fewer than 40,000 to more than 130,000.

Additional Wi-Fi access point installations began in Sage Hall in January and are now continuing in the Auditorium, the General Academic Building, Hickory Hall, Wooten Hall, the Art Building, Chilton Hall, the Music Building, and Willis Library. New Wi-Fi systems should be available in all of those buildings by the end of this semester. Other buildings on campus should receive new Wi-Fi systems shortly after, but there is no official schedule.

Although the students may be the focus, faculty will also benefit from the improvements in a classroom setting.

“We received requests from faculty who want students to use wireless devices in classrooms,” he said. “There are faculty seeing benefits.”

Joseph Adamo, executive director of communications and collaboration services, said in order for wireless systems to be built directly into classrooms, UNT‘s IT will need to call in a construction crew to connect new cables to the old ones.

“In the areas we have already done, we’ve noticed some asbestos in the wall, so we’ve had to call in crews for that,” Adamo said. “We’ll also have to work around classroom schedules so that we don’t disrupt any educational activities going on.”

Wireless networks will reach beyond the buildings, allowing the UNT community to have strong wireless connection even when they are sitting outside.

“You might get a wireless connection when you walk by a building, but then it spills away,” Adamo said. “We are trying to put wireless access points right next to windows and see what can be done to physically mount them outside of buildings.”

Finance junior William Staton said that he is happy with the Wi-Fi connection in the Business Leadership Building – which was built in 2011 – but feels that other buildings could use the upgrade.

“The GAB could really use one,” Staton said. “A lot of students use that building, and I don’t know about them, but it’s hard for me to get Wi-Fi in my phone while I’m in there.”

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