ICAirnet and ICAirnet-Secure Wireless Update

09/10/2013

Contributed by Beth Rugg

In recent years, wireless capabilities have not kept pace with demand. Five years ago, when the IC wireless network was launched, very few students brought laptops to class. Now, the majority of students have multiple wireless devices that they use throughout the day. The use of smart phones has dramatically increased while cell phone companies have limited data plans, driving users to wireless networks. ITS is aware of the issues with our wireless network and will be doing a "site" survey of the wireless network in academic and administrative buildings this semester.

This survey will involve a room by room, building by building analysis to identify what changes need to be made to the wireless infrastructure. Once the survey is complete, we should know how many access points (APs) are needed, the kinds of antennas that should be used, where the gear should be placed and in what density, and how much this remediation will cost. Having this information will help us create a plan to enhance wireless access across campus.

We know you are frustrated. Wireless bandwidth is shared; the more people connecting to wireless at the same time in the same location, the slower the performance. Wireless will never perform as well as the wired network. Other factors that affect performance include wireless access point placement, building materials, the need for data security and the number of people using wireless signal at any given time. Hardware will also have an impact on performance; laptops, tablets, iOS devices and smart phones all use different hardware, which affects how each device connects to a wireless network.

Although we can’t easily solve the wireless problems, we have made working with faculty in classrooms on wireless issues a priority. Faculty relying on wireless during class should contact the ITS Helpdesk if experiencing problems. We will work with you to determine if there is anything that can be done short term to alleviate the issues.

Students experiencing problems should contact Apogee about myResNet issues, 1-877-478-8893 and the ITS Helpdesk for questions about ICAirnet and ICAirnet-Secure. Thank you for your patience and support.

ITS Helpdesk
104 Job Hall
274-1000
helpdesk@ithaca.edu
 

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