Schurz receives the wireless treatment

Residential Life is using the hall as a trial run before possibly installing it in other residence halls.

Residential Life and the Division of Information Technology have collaborated to try to install wireless Internet in residence halls.

Using Schurz as its guinea pig, DoIT wants to determine if Wi-Fi is plausible and functional in every room in the building.

“We decided to do an evaluation of what residence halls would present the biggest challenges (for wireless installation),” Residential Life Director Frankie Minor said.

To examine this, DoIT tested wireless signals in each hall to determine the kind of density of wireless Internet required, Minor said. DoIT chose Schurz to experiment with because the characteristics of the building make it one of the least wireless-friendly halls on campus.

“Hatch and Schurz are our highest-occupancy halls, and the types of construction — a lot of brick and mortar and solid construction — would present the biggest challenge," Minor said. "So we thought if we could do it in the toughest building, we could potentially do it in the other buildings as well."

This is not the first time the campus has experimented with wireless in the residence halls. The most recent trial was in 2001 in Donnelly Hall, a building that once stood in North Hall’s place, Minor said.

“What we found was that it created a very unreliable situation,” Minor said. “The demand for wireless was much higher than the system could support. The system kept crashing or students complained of really slow connection. The Division of IT was doing the best it could, it just couldn’t keep up with the high demand.”

Now, as students’ reliance on computers and mobile computing devices continues to rise, Residential Life decided to take another look at the Internet situation in the residence halls.

The plan for the trial run in Schurz is to monitor the successes and problems with the wireless connection for the rest of the school year, Minor said. If there are minimal problems with the connection and students find the new medium useful, Residential Life will discuss installing wireless in the other halls over summer break.

Because ResLife has not officially announced the installation, most students living in Schurz are unaware of their new access to Wi-Fi and are still using their Ethernet cables in their rooms, Minor said.

Freshman Alex Gaskill said he is very excited to utilize the new wireless technology.

“I’m sure everyone is going to use it," he said. "It’s going to be extremely useful in the rooms."

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