By Jordan Float
During Thanksgiving break, while most Union University students enjoyed stuffed turkey and a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, the Information Technology staff took steps to improve the availability of wireless Internet on campus. IT also plans to increase the bandwidth of Union’s Internet access by the 2011 fall semester.
Earlier this semester, IT ran an online survey of the students, faculty and staff’s expectation and satisfaction with the services.
James Avery, vice president of IT, said his staff has “identified a need not being currently met,” after receiving a large amount of negative feedback concerning Union’s Internet availability.
“The administration will respond to that need,” he said.
Internet-access points for wireless are strategically located across the campus, sending out wireless Internet signals. The closer one is to an access point, the stronger the connection. Some of the problems with Union’s Internet “has to do with the current access points we have,” Avery said. “They are not the right technology for what we need, so we’re actually going to replace those.”
In addition to those replacements, new access points will also be added to The Lex, Jennings Hall and many of the dorms.
The second major change to Union’s Internet access will be an increase in bandwidth. Jackson Energy Authority provides Union a “pipe” through which the university gains a certain amount of access to the Internet. The size of the bandwidth, or “pipe,” determines the amount of Internet access.
“Our pipe is measured in terms of throughput,” Avery said. “As you would think, kind of like a fire hose, the bigger the fire hose the more water you can push through it. If we have more water than we have room for trying to get through that one-size pipe,” then the system begins to have issues.
With an increasing number of students, and increasing numbers of devices accessing the Internet, the bandwidth has become too small.
“I do want to improve the network bandwidth,” Avery said. “We would like to have … expanded Internet services available for students in the fall. That’s the goal.”