Letter: Outdoor wireless project provides Wi-Fi, promotes social distancing


Letter writer Tonya Tienter says the “greenspace” areas on campus promoting social distancing. 

Tonya Tienter

As part of a fall planning initiative to provide the Iowa State community with greater internet access while staying socially distanced, Wi-Fi is now available in select outdoor or “greenspace” areas on Iowa State’s campus. Segmented into three phases, the outdoor wireless project adds Wi-Fi access outside high-traffic buildings, thanks to the efforts of Iowa State Information Technology Services’ (ITS) physical infrastructure, network engineering and network architecture teams.

Offering outdoor Wi-Fi access has been an established goal of ITS, prioritized by the need for creative and safe solutions to on-campus work and learning in response to COVID-19. The project’s first phase has delivered Wi-Fi coverage to the outdoor seating and quad locations south of Parks Library and to the north and east of the Memorial Union. The second phase of the outdoor wireless project proposes to extend coverage to spaces around the Student Innovation Center, Beardshear Hall, MacKay Hall, Catt Hall, Curtiss Hall, Agronomy Hall, Gerdin Business Building and the Hub by the end of August.

In the planning stage, the ITS project team discussed and determined various aspects of the undertaking, including scope, schedule, cost and funding, procurement needs, quality assurances and communication plans. Then, in coordination with other campus units including Facilities, Planning and Management; Utility Services and building managers, access point hardware controlling the breadth of the connectivity zones were strategically installed on building exteriors.

The outdoor wireless initiative ultimately provides campusgoers with an additional opportunity to prioritize health and access the Iowa State networks while staying socially distanced, which is one of the fourth pillars of healthy behaviors outlined in the Cyclones Care campaign.