Campus, residence halls, to have Wi-Fi by 2012

Kyle Berg

All residence halls on campus will be connected to the Kent State wireless network by the end of 2011.

According to Thomas Beitl, executive director of Information Services, Kent State will be getting more Wi-Fi coverage as the year goes on. According to the FlashZone map – which shows what parts of the campus have Wi-Fi and which do not— Tri-Towers, Centennial Courts A through D, Verder, Prentice and Dunbar halls have only a partial Wi-Fi connection. McDowell, Beall, Koonce, Leebrick and Wright halls have no Wi-Fi connectivity at all.

After attending a ResNet symposium, Tri-Towers ResNet employee Mike Carson noted, “Some schools said they didn’t have any wireless coverage, but the majority had more than we do campus wide.”

Beitl said the process of getting Wi-Fi into the residence halls usually begins with the person in charge of the building asking if Beitl can install an access point into the building. Beitl then asks them if they would be willing to pay for it.

If they say yes, he installs the access point, but if they say no, then he can’t install Wi-Fi for them. The access point routers for these buildings are different from the ones people normally install at their homes; these access points are industrial strength and can cost between $500 and $600.

“We’re going to try to be sensitive and coordinate that and say those people who are paying for wireless will have it and those that don’t won’t [have it], but next year when it all comes together, wireless will be everywhere,” Beitl said.

The buildings that get partial or no Wi-Fi coverage are less expensive to live in. However, Beitl will not have the students who pay less for their room get free Wi-Fi while other students pay extra for their rooms that come with Wi-Fi. In order to avoid this and make reduce inconvenience for students, Beitl will install the access points during the winter, spring and summer breaks.

There are also some classroom and administrative buildings that only have partial Wi-Fi like Michael Schwartz Center and Cartwright Hall, but they too should get complete coverage soon.

Beitl said the Michael Schwartz Center and Cartwright Hall would get complete coverage by Dec. 1, and the rest of the campus will get Wi-Fi coverage sometime in fall 2011.

Contact technology reporter Kyle Berg at [email protected].