There is good news for USF students who feel frustration with the wi-fi on campus as USF’s Information Technology Services (ITS) has developed a plan to improve the wireless network in the resident halls by December and other parts of the campus by summer 2015.
With both the President and cabinet’s full support, Vice President and Chief Information Officer Opinder Bawa, Vice Provost of Student Life Peter Novak, ITS, and Student Affairs have been observing students and faculty’s wireless devices use over the past year. They have noticed that the number of wireless devices have increased in the past year and there is a greater demand on the system. As a result, they have decided to deploy an upgrade.
“The first thing it is going to do [is] make sure that you actually have a wireless signal,” said Bawa. “[What] we are going to do is [boost] the signal and [make] sure that we have enough devices, called access points, and [make] sure that the access points are sufficient for the population we have and the number of devices that our population brings with them…that’s going to happen by the summer.” Upgrades began in residence halls due to their high wi-fi use.
“The second thing we’re doing is [upgrade] our internet connection…We’re going to be boosting the internet connection that we have,” added Bawa.
“This is a research cycle, but we exonerated it because we found that the number of devices that students bring in are more than just one, so the amount of traffic going through the residence halls is much higher than other parts of the campus; also, it’s making sure that students have a great experience…and a part of that is good wireless connection,” said Bawa.
Fromm and Gillson were upgraded in September, and currently upgrades are taking place in Loyola Village and Lone Mountain.
In order to upgrade the wi-fi, more devices are being installed on every floor of the residence halls. Additional wires and switches are also needed, which makes the project far from straight-forward.
The team is working with students, Student Housing and Residential Education, and resident advisors to ensure that the process runs smoothly. It hopes to create minimal disturbances for the students and less wi-fi problems for newly installed devices.
“I am pleased that Student Life and ITS partner so seamlessly and that whenever there is an issue that affects students, it always becomes a priority for ITS to improve it as soon as possible,” said Novak. “I know that students will have better connectivity as a result.”
A team from ITS tested the speed and strength of the signal in Fromm residence hall last week after the upgrade took place.
The upgrades are ahead of schedule. Originally, upgrades were not supposed to begin until October, but instead began in September.
“Well, I think it would be great to have the update,” said junior Paulina Avila Martinez. She lived in Hayes-Healy residence hall her freshman year, Fromm her sophomore year, and currently lives in Lone Mountain residence hall.
“In Fromm it was slow, but more reliable than LoMo since it frequently disconnects here so I have to switch wi-fi to USF visitors and back again or [it] loses signal,” said Avila Martinez. “The speed was also a problem at times and in general, sometimes the wi-fi would say it was connected, but then it would say no internet connection. That would happen outside the dorms too.”