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USU Wi-Fi getting an upgrade

Computers and devices will connect to a worldwide network

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 01:01


USU’s Bluezone Secure Wi-Fi network is being replaced by a new system called Eduroam.

“The current system can’t keep up with the demand,” said Kevin Reeve, an administrator for the information technology department.

The main concern with installing the new network was placing special consideration on areas with that are used most, such as the Taggart Student Center and Merrill-Cazier Library. According to Reeve, the new system has been designed with approximately 50 percent more access points.

Installation of the new system has already begun and will be completed by the start of the Fall 2014 semester. According to Reeve, the installation is on schedule, and the transition between the two networks should be seamless.

There will be no additional student charges or fees for the installation, Reeve added. The project is being funded through the IT funding model. The IT department has also been in continuous contact with the student fee board of the USU Student Association.

The main problem with these high-usage areas is with only certain wavelengths in the radio frequency spectrum available for Wi-Fi, those wavelengths can quickly become saturated, Reeve said. One solution that is being used in the new network are spot beams, or receivers that work directionally to optimize in real-time.

As a courtesy to both students and faculty, the IT department will place informative banners in buildings that are scheduled to receive the Wi-Fi upgrade. The development schedule is also available on the IT department’s website: wireless.usu.edu.

Because Eduroam is a worldwide network, a computer or electronic device registered on the network will be able to connect to Wi-Fi on other university campuses.

Philippe Hanset, U.S. project leader for Eduroam, said Eduroam is being used in more than 54 countries worldwide. It has existed in the United States since 2005, but it was dormant until 2009. For details on which US campuses use Eduroam, visit the company’s website: www.eduroam.org.

According to Hanset, Eduroam is an important fix to a problem with Wi-Fi similar to the solution for roaming with cell phones. However, unlike with cell roaming, using Eduroam doesn’t charge the user any additional fees.

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