Unplugged: Simpson goes wireless

Unplugged: Simpson goes wireless

by Hannah PickettStaff Writer

As Simpson students packed up and headed back to campus this year, many may have left one thing behind: their Ethernet cables.

This year Simpson’s entire campus, including non-college owned sorority houses, has upgraded to a completely wireless Internet system, leaving the cables and cords behind.

Simpson is one of the only colleges in the state of Iowa to go completely wireless.

“We wanted to give students and faculty the tools they need to learn and teach inside and outside the classroom environment,” Kelley Bradder, vice president of Information Services, said. “A wireless campus allows access to information anywhere, at any time, supporting the 24/7 atmosphere.”

According to Bradder a wireless campus was a long-time vision of the college. That image was made a reality last January after the project got the Board of Trustees’ stamp of approval.

Last year, wireless Internet access was available in many areas on campus, including Dunn Library, the second floor of Wallace Hall, the Carver Science Center atrium, McNeill Hall, Dirlam Lounge and many student residences.

Over the summer, these areas expanded to include the entire campus, which many technologically- savvy faculty, students and staff think is cutting edge.

“It’s something that makes Simpson really competitive,” Lisa Carponelli, assistant professor of communication and media studies, said. “It will put Simpson on the map. It is very ahead of the curve.”

Difficulties were expected with the change, but so far the transition to a wireless campus has been a smooth one, Bradder said.

“We have helped a little over 300 students connect to the network since move-in weekend,” Bradder said. “We anticipated the high volume and hired extra help for this time period.”

The project was completed Aug. 1, just in time for when Simpson’s first residents moved in.

“It’s really great because we even have it at my house in Pi (Beta) Phi and since we moved in, we haven’t had to hook up with the Ethernet cords at all,” junior Alicia Carlo said. “It’s awesome. I can go around the house basically anywhere and get Internet.”

Not only is it a commodity to students, but professors may be getting creative with re-styling class formats.

“It’s great for both students and faculty,” Carponelli said. “It’s great for students to flip open their laptops anywhere and do their homework. It’s great for professors to go anywhere on campus and be able to access Web sites to show in class.”

Although wireless has been received with positive attention, there are some students who still are using their Ethernet cords.

Sophomore Chris Garza has been experiencing problems with the wireless system since he arrived on campus.

“I can pick up a wireless signal, but when I connect to the Internet the signal isn’t strong enough for my computer,” Garza said. “My theory is that the router is not close enough to my room so I can’t get a better signal.”

The campus-wide wireless Internet is available for all Simpson users to connect to. It’s restricted to Simpson faculty, students and staff with valid login credentials.

According to Bradder, this will make it difficult people who do not have access to use Simpson’s Internet.

“This prevents unauthorized access and provides a secure wireless connection for Simpson constituents,” Bradder said.

If there are any problems in connecting to the wireless signal, the office of Information Services, located in the lower level of McNeill, will provide free assistance.

“The Simpson wireless campus will provide students access to resources when and where it is convenient for them, allowing them to make the most of their Simpson experience,” Bradder said.