Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

$4 Million Wireless Upgrade Begins

This news item expired September 7, 2014. It may contain out-of-date information.

Two years ago, ISU students arrived on campus with an average of two devices that connected to the internet. Today, the average number is five. And enrollment is increasing. "We see a significant increase in the demand for wireless every year," said director of information systems Angela Bradley. "Students are coming from home environments where the wireless connection is more or less dedicated to their family. When they come to Iowa State and share connections with thousands of highly technical peers using a multitude of services, they notice the effect on network speed."

We are excited to announce this wireless upgrade project. This comes at an opportune time with better technology available along with university and student support to improve wireless capacity. ITS recently received approval for $4 million in funding for wireless upgrades; half of that will come from the Computation Advisory Committee (CAC) which allocated student technology fees.

"As CAC is responsible for administering the technology fees that all students pay, wireless access is one of our highest priorities," said Eliot Winer, chair of CAC. "We see this as one of the most important information technology tools that can be provided to students. This will enable better coverage at more points on campus to further enrich a student's experience here at Iowa State."

The remainder of funding is coming from a university budget request.

The goal of the wireless upgrade project is to increase the capacity of the wireless network, said senior analyst Jen Lohrbach, who oversees wireless networks on campus. The main focus is on classrooms but also increasing coverage for all faculty and student space. As the project launches, ITS is positioning ISU to meet the growing need for streaming video, delivery of instruction and collaboration.

An outside contractor was hired last fall to survey each building on campus to create the wireless design. The survey recommendations are not complete, but ITS is beginning the upgrade process now. Those buildings with the highest impact to students and learning will be done first. Upgrades to Ross Hall are complete and Gilman Hall will be finished within the next several weeks. All new wiring and installation should be completed within two years. For information on the upgrade schedule, subscribe to ITS News. Updates will be published regularly.

If you have questions, or for more information, contact Jennifer Lohrbach, or visit the Campus-wide Wireless Upgrades project page on the CIO website.