Campus Wi-Fi Update

by Emmy Walters

Since August, Sewanee’s Information Technology Services (ITS) has been working on a $900,000 upgrade for the campus network. These plans include improved wireless connectivity and extended cellular coverage for every building on campus, as well as an increase in the institutional Internet bandwidth from 250 to 750 megabytes per second. In order to achieve these improvements, the University has made plans to update cellular reception on the Mountain with a new AT&T tower and to improve Internet speed with new wireless access points and network switches. Realizing that Sewanee’s aging cable plant was not robust enough to deliver streaming multimedia, teaching and learning applications, and high-speed access to research and scholarship, ITS decided to begin a project set to upgrade the University network with a $900,000 grant from the Board of Trustees.

The overall goals and objectives of this upgrade are to allow for greater mobility in a wireless expansion, to improve teaching and learning opportunities through greater coverage, reliability, bandwidth, and performance across the University’s academic buildings, residence halls, and outdoor areas. ITS has installed over 40 outside Wi-Fi access points for outside coverage. In order to provide prime Wi-Fi reception, ITS has also installed a new network option called “Sewanee-Secure,” whoch delivers information securely via the encrypted network and ensures connection to the Internet at the fastest speeds available. It’s up to 40-50 times faster than “Sewanee” or “Sewanee-Guest.” Instructions for logging onto this network are posted in residence halls and included on page 1 of this issue.

Though the 4G cellular AT&T tower site has been installed, the improvement won’t be fully up and running until a live cutover set to take place Apr. 1. The Network Engineering Team must go through an extensive checklist that includes the process of passing all regulatory requirements. The tower should improve cellular service in buildings and other locations across the Domain. After the completion of the project, ITS plans to revisit each area and perform a post-project survey. The entire project should be completed by the end of the Easter Semester.