Campus survey leads to wireless expansion on campus

by Josh BrammerStaff Writer

Wireless internet access has been expanded at Simpson. Students, faculty and staff can now access the internet wirelessly in 6 academic buildings and 10 residence halls.

New additions to the wireless network since last spring include traditional residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses.

Al Appenzeller, director of Information Services, said the project started two-or-three years ago.

“Information Services surveyed the campus community to find out what the needs were and where people were interested in having wireless access,” Appenzeller said. “We (Information Services) thought access in Pfeiffer Dining Hall would be important to students. Students pointed out to us that Pfeiffer was only open during meal hours and they probably wouldn’t take their laptops with them to eat. We also thought Brenton Student Center would be high on their list. Students indicated they would use it but not to the degree we expected.”

The project started in academic buildings, and then moved to the residence halls last spring.

“We received lots of feedback about putting wireless in the residence halls after it had been used in the academic buildings,” Appenzeller said.

Appenzeller also said Information Services will continue to look at ways to increase access to areas that currently have limited or no access. How much access is increased and where depends on the amount of funds available.

“Access points cost between $500-600 each, and the number needed depends on the size of the building,” Appenzeller said. “Dunn Library, for example, has about 15 access points, so the cost can add up pretty quickly.”

According to Appenzeller, the transition to wireless has been smooth. Some difficulties arise because Simpson’s network supports many different types of student-owned systems like Mac, Toshiba, HP, and Acer.

Freshman Angela Rehm said she loves having wireless internet access on campus.

“I use it most often in McNeill Hall because I have three classes there,” Rehm said. “I haven’t had any problems with it so far.”

Appenzeller said that in buildings like Barker Hall and Kresge Hall are harder to get wireless signals through because they are built of concrete blocks.

Junior Amanda Clark, who transferred to Simpson from Indian Hills Community College also uses wireless access on campus.

“At Indian Hills there wasn’t a lot of wireless access,” Clark said. “I like that there is so much here, because it’s a lot more convenient. You’re not confined to one place to use the internet.”

Information Services has set up a lot of laptops for wireless access so far this fall. Appenzeller estimates that about 600 student computers are laptops with wireless capability.

Appenzeller also said that while both wired and wireless connections have their advantages, a wired connection is still better when it comes to things like file downloads.