Cedarville University is implementing an ambitious Wi-Fi upgrade project that will bring new or improved Wi-Fi hotspots to much of the campus. The $ 1.6 million initiative began in December.

Cedarville is collaborating on the project with its technology partner, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

After the upgrade, there will be four times as many access points, which are devices that broadcast Wi-Fi signals to designated areas and allow devices to connect to the internet, around campus, and those points access will be repositioned and oriented to better adapt to the needs of modern technology.

This will increase network reliability and reduce latency, providing transparent and secure transfer of data over the network for an improved user experience. In practice, this means a more cohesive connection.

When Cedarville designed its Wi-Fi infrastructure in 2006, it was intended for occasional convenience, not instruction. In residences as in classrooms, Wi-Fi access points are positioned for this purpose. Although functional now, the university hopes to bring its Wi-Fi up to advanced standards.

“Our technology expectations have changed dramatically over the past 15 years,” said Micah J. Cooper, associate vice president for technology and chief information officer. “Back then, students weren’t taking exams on Canvas or using Zoom.”

For this reason, Wi-Fi access points are not located where they are needed most today.

Cooper explains Wi-Fi by comparing it to a conversation in a crowded room. “In a large room where a lot of people are talking, it’s hard to be heard when the volume is up. Likewise, when many devices attempt to connect to a single hotspot, the volume makes it difficult to listen, resulting in poor Wi-Fi connections.

“We have more students than ever, every student has more devices than ever, and every device has higher Wi-Fi expectations. This leads to poor real-time communication over Wi-Fi, ”Cooper continued.

The solution is an upgrade project that will cost around $ 1.6 million. During the Christmas holidays 2020, the five largest residences were modernized. During the Christmas holidays, the remaining residences and university buildings also began to be renovated. The upgrade project is expected to be completed by the summer.

With the upgrade, there will be at least one access point in every classroom and dormitory. “The places where students do most of their calculations will each have their own Wi-Fi hotspot, dedicated to exclusively serving that area,” said network analyst Nat Biggs, who is primarily responsible for networks. wireless.

One of the largest spaces to be modernized is the Jeremiah Chapel at the Dixon Ministry Center, which houses the Cedarville Chapel Service Monday through Friday. “We are designing the chapel to be able to handle 6,000 devices at a time,” Biggs continued. “It involves placing access points in really interesting positions, like under the seats or on the front wall of the balcony. This way each seat will have good Wi-Fi coverage.

The team also brought in consultants from Aruba to the DeVries Theater, Callan Gymnasium, Doden Field House, and Stevens Student Center Dining Hall for consultation on the optimal placement and configuration of the Wi-Fi hotspots. -Fi to ensure an exceptional user experience.

“We in Aruba are impressed both by Cedarville’s commitment to providing its students with secure, high-performance wireless connectivity and by the university’s commitment to working with us to ensure that its Wi-Fi deployment best meets that goal, ”said Jason Clancy, Territory Manager for Aruba. , who participated in the project.

Cooper concluded by emphasizing the importance of this upgrade for students and the global network they connect to. “This $ 1.6 million is an investment in student success, recreation and happiness,” he said. “More than that, our network is how we spread the gospel around the world.”

“With Wi-Fi, we can go from the middle of the Ohio cornfields and touch the world.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 fields of study. ‘studies. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of Ohio’s largest private universities, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation and retention rates, professional offerings and in accredited health sciences and its high ranking of student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.

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