Campuswide wireless Internet to come in 2008

It’s a lovely day. The sun is shining, a cool breeze is blowing, and you’re stuck inside, eyes glued to your laptop screen. Come spring 2008, you’ll be stalking friends on Facebook alongside sun bathers and frisbee flingers. Technology resources and contracted workers from HP Solutions will finish expanding TCU’s wireless network to the entire campus by the end of May 2008, said Dave Edmondson of technology resources.

The wireless network, expected to cost about $650,000 to $700,000, will be available anywhere on campus to students with registered Ethernet cards, said Jace Thompson, student body president.

He said the student government and student relations committee met with the board of trustees to encourage it to expedite the implementation of a full-campus wireless network.

Thompson said wireless Internet is currently only available in certain areas of some residence halls, the library and academic buildings, but the extension of the network will provide students with a much greater workspace.

“The wireless network should make it a lot easier for students to work on group projects,” Thompson said. “It encourages students to stay on campus instead of going to other places where wireless Internet is available.”

The wired network will remain the fastest connection available on campus, running about 10 times faster than the wireless connection, Edmondson said. He said the connection speed will vary depending on how many users are online at once.

“The wireless network is great for collaboration, or for when you want to sit under a tree on a beautiful day,” Edmondson said.

The movement toward a campuswide wireless network will bring TCU up to date with other college campuses, Thompson said.

“We’re not going to be the leaders in implementing this, but we’re not going to be far behind,” Edmondson said.

Technology resources will encrypt the network, making it as secure as technology allows, Edmondson said. He said the security system will emulate that of the wired network, but that wireless technology isn’t as stable as wired because it is a more recent development, and less time has been spent working with it.

The wireless frequency is expected to be weaker toward the edges of campus to prevent people other than students and faculty from using it, Edmondson said.

The idea of forming a campuswide wireless network was mentioned in past board of trustees and SGA meetings; however, the budget was not sufficient at the time, Thompson said. He said that students should be pleased by how quickly the network is being implemented.

Josh Jacobs, a freshman science and engineering premajor, said he thinks the network will run slowly because many students will rely solely on the wireless connection, but he said he appreciates that the network will be expanded because he has great difficulty finding a signal from the current wireless network.

Ryan Barnhart, a senior communication studies major, said he would take advantage of the network.

“I think the wireless network is definitely a good idea because of the convenience of being able to use the Internet anywhere you want to,” Barnhart said.