New Wi-Fi replaces Flashzone-WPA

Nick Gates

Kent State’s Network Services is in the process of rebranding the Flashzone-WPA wireless network with a new name.

This effort by Information Services aims to make wireless access easier for students and faculty and to cut down on wireless connection errors, said Network Services.

The newly renamed Wi-Fi, Kent State Wireless, is now live and freshmen have been instructed to connect to it and ignore Flashzone-WPA.

Jay Frye, director of service management, explained that data shows a portion of students were not connected to the proper network.

“In the past, we’ve had a lot of questions about which network to join,” Frye said. “We were able to look at (Tech) HelpDesk data and we saw a number of students who would end up on the guest network.”

Frye said that the goal is for students to pick the right network the first time so that no support is needed.

James Raber, interim executive director for educational technology and service management, explained that there is no set date for when Flashzone-WPA will be completely phased out. This allows for a gradual transition to the new network.

“We want to make sure that we get to the point where we can make the change without being disruptive to end-users,” Raber said. “We know that there are people that still have devices connected.”

Raber and Frye agreed that an important aspect of the new Wi-Fi was to inform future students.

“It was one of the key things we talked about with the incoming freshmen,” said Raber.

“Pretty soon, just through messaging incoming (students), we will have gotten most of them over or have done it themselves,” Frye said.

Matthew Williams, manager for network and telecommunications services, said the rebranding achieved the removal of the security protocol in the network name.

It is thought that removing the WPA from the network name will make it “a little more intuitive and user-friendly.”

Despite a name-change, the network will function just as the old one did.

“The two networks are identical,” Williams said. “They use the exact same networks behind the scenes.”

While Kent State Wireless has the same framework as Flashzone-WPA, Network Services are trying to give the new network a makeover.

“Every year we’re adding access points and we’re adding bandwidth to the networks so we’re constantly doing upgrades,” Williams said.

Network Services added about 400 new access points in residence halls this summer. According to Network Services, they plan to add another 350 next summer. 

Nick Gates is the technology reporter. Contact him at [email protected]