Wireless access points on campus benefit Iowa State

Karen Jennings

New wireless access points are in the process of being added in efforts to speed up the campus’ wireless Internet services.

The addition of 100 new access points will allow for faster Internet usage for more devices.

New wireless access points will be installed beginning over Spring Break, said Jennifer Lohrbach, senior systems analyst for Information Technology and leader of the project.

Approximately 100 buildings on campus offer wireless access in one or more rooms, according to Inside Iowa State’s website. Some wireless spots on campus include Central Campus, the Memorial Union and the lawn between Parks Library and Enrollment Services Center. 

The project will cost $350,541 and will be funded by student computer fees.

The Computation Advisory Committee, a group of faculty and students, determines how the student technology fees are spent.

“The dollars are based on equipment, hardware, software, wiring and Ethernet costs based on a three-year cost of maintenance, taking care of software and Ethernet charges Information Technology Service needs to maintain,” Lohrbach said.

The purpose of the project is to tackle the points on campus that do not have wireless access.

The project will cater to students, who will be asked to take a survey in the second week of school asking for feedback so Information Technology can make sure they are not missing any part of campus. 

“I think [wireless spots] should go on higher floors of buildings,” said Michael Cluney, junior in management information systems. “It’s kind of a pain to work on your laptop, walk in a professor’s office and lose reception all together.”

With all the technology there is today, it makes it difficult to get wireless access points with speed, Lohrbach said.

“Users having two or three devices saturates what we have today,” Lohrbach said. “What we had two or three years ago isn’t keeping up with what we have today with [people having] two or three devices.”

Once the new access points are installed, wireless service on campus will be improved. 

“Coverage would increase by 15 percent on campus,” Lohrbach said. “We make sure we are doing the right thing for students.”

In addition to adding wireless access to new places on campus, the project will also improve service at high-traffic areas.

“At Memorial Union, in one semester it had well over 100,000 unique devices,” Lohrbach said. “One access point supports 20 to 30 users effectively and we have doubled that.”

Information Technology plans to be completed with this project by late April.