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Campus Life

Surfing at the BU Beach

Wireless clicks on behind Marsh Plaza

Wireless access is now available outside at the BU Beach and behind the GSU (highlighted in orange). Other wireless access points around campus (in red) include SMG, the Photonics Center, and Warren Towers.

At the first sign of warm weather, students flock to the BU Beach, the stretch of grass between Marsh Plaza and Storrow Drive. But this spring, students can do more than work on their tan there — they can surf the Web, send a message to their friends via Facebook.com, even write that final paper. As of March 22, wireless access covers the area behind Marsh Chapel and extends behind the George Sherman Union food court.

Student demand for wireless access in one of BU’s few outdoor common areas prompted the University to bring the technology outside for the first time. It allows faculty, students, and staff to connect their computers to a network using radio waves instead of wires. 

“Bringing wireless to the beach gives students the opportunity to work outside, in a less constraining atmosphere than the library or academic buildings,” says Scott Linzmeyer (CAS’08, SMG’08), chair of the Student Union Technology Committee.

About 40 percent of the University is covered by wireless, including many residence halls and schools, according to Michael Krugman, executive director of the Office of Information Technology. For example, students can already watch YouTube videos during lunch at the GSU or use an online simulation to manipulate the future of a company in most School of Management rooms. “Any new buildings on campus will likely be wireless, including the new residential towers in the Student Village,” says Krugman. Click here to find wireless around campus.

That expansion is important, Linzmeyer says, because at SMG, students often work in teams, and they need Internet access to conduct research and to communicate with one another, among other tasks. “With the limited number of Ethernet outlets in all buildings, even new ones like SMG and Photonics,” he says, “it is crucial to have wireless available at least in common areas.”

Only members of the BU community with designated VPN software and a Kerberos log-in and password can use BU’s wireless network, which keeps transactions secure and encrypted so that information can’t be stolen as it travels the radio waves. For instructions on how to access BU’s wireless network, click here.

Catherine Santore can be reached at csantore@bu.edu.