Plans To Upgrade Campus Wi-Fi Proposed, Under Review

A proposal to expand the campus Wi-Fi was offered at the Dec. 11, 2015 UCA Board of Trustees meeting. This project would include installing more than 1,300 new wireless access points across campus, which would allow students to more effectively utilize campus Wi-Fi.

The IT department and the wireless service provider for UCA determined the root cause for the inefficient Wi-Fi is the amount of students on the network. The workload demanded by the students is too much for the access points currently installed on campus.

According to a recent survey of over 1,000 students, the speed and reliability of current wireless coverage was “grossly inadequate and unreliable.”

“Running any streaming over campus Wi-Fi is never a good idea,” one meeting attendee said.

The buildings retrofitted by this project would include Arkansas Hall, Baridon Hall, Bear Hall, Bernard Hall, Carmichael Hall, Conway Hall, Donaghey Hall, Farris Hall, Greek Village, Hughes Hall, New Hall, Short/Denney Hall and State Hall.

Additionally, university buildings such as the Conway Corporation Center for Sciences (which will require a redesign of its initial wireless layout), the Student Center, Mashburn Hall, the Mathematics-Computer Science Technology Building and Thompson Hall would be receiving new wireless internet.

Each of these buildings would receive complete wireless coverage with the new router installations. By making these changes, wireless user oversaturation can be greatly diminished, if not completely rectified. Data access speeds should be increased by these additions and areas previously not reached by the Wi-Fi access points currently in place would now be included in the network.

The total cost for the software and equipment needed to make these additions runs nearly $600,000. The cost for installation and cabling is expected to run another $300,000 but the final cost for that will be determined via a sealed bid. This brings the project total to roughly $900,000.


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