Tech Times

Spring 2012

Wireless Network Upgrades

IS&T began a major upgrade and expansion project on the Charles River Campus (CRC) in 2010 that now extends high-speed wireless services to all Registrar classrooms, dining facilities, and undergraduate residences. A subsequent phase to extend wireless service throughout all CRC by 2014 is well underway. A list of facilities, target dates, and current status is available on TechWeb. A project to enhance Medical Campus wireless networking is currently under review.

Providing high-speed wireless network access on a campus as large, diverse, and mobile as Boston University is an enormous challenge. Our community encompasses tens of thousands of students, faculty, staff, and guests, a growing number of whom have several devices spanning smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers. Furthermore, demand for service can be concentrated in large residence halls, food courts, and lecture halls, while access from classrooms can be orchestrated and is frequently simultaneous. Since wireless technology owes its origins to much smaller consumer-oriented applications in homes and coffee shops, it wasn’t engineered with the characteristics and requirements of large research universities in mind. Only recently have proven tools and techniques become available to help network engineers and administrators offer reliable, pervasive, and secure high-speed wireless network services to concentrated mobile communities on this scale.

IS&T continues to work very closely with IT Governance, the Registrar, Facilities, Housing, Dining Services, our partners in the schools, colleges, and departments, and our suppliers and service providers in grappling with the challenges inherent in designing, deploying, maintaining, and supporting high-speed wireless network services for a community as large and diverse as ours.