Wi-Fi to make debut in all dorms

By Shelby Leonard

After years of exasperating ethernet cables, the new age of Wi-Fi has finally arrived.

Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology, announced during the 61st Student Senate Legislative Session that wireless installation will begin this October.

As technology has improved, the need for wireless Internet on campus has increased. The majority of students have to manually set up their laptop just to do homework or watch Netflix in their room.

“Wi-Fi is currently in all the residents halls but it is not in every room,” Orr said. “So if your room is not one of the rooms that has it, it’s like it doesn’t exist.”

Dallas junior Connor Mighell, campus improvements and affairs chair, brought his Wi-Fi concerns to Orr when he was a freshman. Orr shared Mighell’s concerns, but, the funds were not available at the time.

So, Orr has been working with Mighell and Student Life for the past two years to find a solution.

“I told Connor last year that it is a very expensive project to complete,” Orr said.

The amount of equipment that must be replaced to allow that many rooms to have Wi-Fi access, was out of reach, she said.

Bob Hartland, associate vice president for IT infrastructure, made necessary improvements in the residence halls to be able to handle the Wi-Fi connections, But, Orr said the money was not available until this year.

“The upgrades are in place, the money is here and the process will begin in October,” Orr said. “Our plan is to try to cover as many halls as we can as fast as we can.”

The normal protocol for projects this large is to work during the summer. Since the project will begin while students are on campus, Orr said, communication is going to play a major role in how quickly the process progresses.

To establish clear communication, Orr said she will be working closely with the department of campus learning and Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president of Student Life.

Orr said the current plan is to have a crew of three people will go into the dorms every day from 1 to 5 p.m. They may even be able to have two crews working at the same time.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to finish all of the small halls in this academic year,” Orr said. “Then we will start on the large halls in summer 2014.”

The small residence halls include Allen, Alexander, Dawson, Kokernot and Memorial.

Installation crews can work quickly through the smaller halls because there are very few access points.

When the small halls have been completed the installation crews will move on to Brooks, Collins and Penland residence halls.

“We are hoping to beat the two-year goal,” Jackson said.