The frustration of realizing there is no wireless access in one of your classes may now be gone. The U of M has recently upgraded and expanded their wireless network to include wireless N in nine buildings and wireless G in two more buildings.
Wireless N is a newer and more advanced wireless technology than wireless G and provides a wider range as well as a larger capacity to support Internet users. Wireless N uses a technology known as MIMO, which allows for maximum transmitting power and reception due to multiple input and output.
Other buildings on campus have wireless B or wireless G. These are the older standards and while students can still connect, it is not up to the same state of the art standards as wireless N.
Previous UMSU president, Camilla Tapp, spearheaded the recommendation for an expansion of wireless connectivity. Tapp found that in comparison to 15 other schools that the U of M typically compares itself to, we were towards the bottom of the list in our wireless services. In this way, the U of M wasn’t living up to what it promises to its students in terms of services.
The administration was receptive of this and a project was developed to improve wireless on campus. The initiative was accomplished through the joint efforts or UMSU, Information Services and Technology (IST), and administration.
While tenants in some buildings had been requesting wireless access for some time, it wasn’t until UMSU approached administration that the initiative was taken to develop access.
The $1.45 million project was funded through technology fees that are included in student’s tuition.
Brian Mitchell, a learning and change consultant with Learning and Development Services, explained that this is not just a project but, rather, a wireless N program, meaning that it will be continually enhanced and evolving.
When asked whether the expanded Internet access would upset professors due to increased student distraction during lectures, Mitchell explained that it may cause concerns for some professors, however, Internet is a fact of today’s reality and education. He explained that many professors are using online tools and referencing them in classes already. Access in the lectures will allow for students to refer to these tools immediately.
The university is looking into new signage in buildings that advertise to students the wireless access available in that location; similar to wireless signs you would see in public places and coffee shops. A student wide email announcing the new services may also be distributed.
In order to connect to the wireless network, students should visit www.umanitoba.ca/ist/wireless. They can then walk through the process to connect to the encrypted U of M network. Students, however, must claim their U of M password prior to accessing the network.
The buildings that now have Internet access include Biological Science, Sinnott, Armes, University Centre, Machray Hall, the ARTlab, St. Andrew’s College, Buller, Administration and Education. Duff Roblin will have wireless access built into it sometime in September or October.