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Innovations: Nuts and Bolts

By jservedio on December 1, 2017

John Gattuso

During this past summer, Colgate ITS supercharged the campus wireless network, focusing hard on residential spaces. More than two-thirds of the wireless access points were upgraded and we added 21 percent more wireless capacity.

The “hearts” of our wireless network are the access points. You see them everywhere, and may not even know what they are. A little square or rounded box on the ceiling, typically with a few flashing lights, is what makes it possible for users across campus to access the eduroam wireless network. These are critically important in our residence halls, where more than 500 older and slower access points were replaced this summer with newer, faster models tuned for the demands of streaming media and high speed networking. In addition, more than 260 additional access points were added to cover areas that had previously been spotty. This new equipment made it into 70, 80, 84, 100, and 118 Broad St., and the 113 Broad St. complex of Read, Shepardson, Whitnall, and Brigham. Coverage was also improved in Curtis Hall, Drake Hall, Andrews Hall, the townhouses, University Courts, Parker Apartments, and Parker Commons. And, of course, the newly renovated Stillman Hall received a full complement of new wireless connections.

The end result is that students living on campus now experience wireless data rates nearly four times as fast as last year. (Here comes the geek speak: these new AP’s are dual radio 802.11ac access points with Multi-User MIMO. They support up to 1,300 Mbps in the 5GHz band with 3×3 VHT80 clients and up to 300 Mbps in the 2.4GHz band with 2×2 HT40 clients).

Our academic, administrative, and athletic facilities also saw upgrades this summer, with 424 new wireless access points. In early spring 2017, our networking team began robust planning and scheduling. In order to complete this enormous effort, we needed to select and contract with five different wiring contractors to get everything in place prior to the start of the fall semester.

“This is a great improvement for our students, faculty, and staff and was an extremely well- coordinated, collaborative effort by the ITS Networking and Unified Communication team” stated Tim Borfitz, Interim Director of Services and Shared Infrastructure. “I am hopeful this well-executed project results in noticeable improvements for the Colgate community.”

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