Photo Courtesy of pepperdine.edu
Wi-Fi access points will be installed in the outer part of buildings surrounding Joslyn Plaza by the beginning of the fall semester in an effort to extend wireless coverage for students working outdoors, according to Chief Information Officer Jonathan See.
The Joslyn Plaza access points will be the first of many, according to See, with other possible locations including the Amphitheater, Adamson Plaza and the seating area near the Gregg C. Juarez fountain. Access points are devices similar to modems that add wireless capability to an existing network.
See mentioned that even though students receive some form of wireless signal in outside areas, it is not strong enough. “My ideal goal is that all areas that students tend to gather in get good wireless coverage,” he said.
After conducting the 2014 TechQual+ survey, See noticed students required greater bandwidth and omnipresent wireless signal. The TechQual+ survey is designed to measure the performance of an IT organization in areas such as connectivity and access as well as technology and user experience, according to the IT website.
“Internet access isn’t everywhere. People expect it to be everywhere. We’re trying to extend that not just within building but outside too, in common areas. Hopefully before the fall semester starts we’ll have good coverage in that area,” See said.
In order to implement the new access points, Pepperdine’s Information Technology department will wire them to the existing telecommunications room in each building, which will in turn tie back to Pepperdine’s data center.
A data center is a facility that centralizes an organization’s IT operations and equipment and also stores, manages and disseminates its data, according to paloaltonetworks.com
“I think it’s a great idea, because often students will want to get some work done outside and aren’t able to because there’s no Wi-Fi, so we wind up paying an absurd amount of money to live in the beautiful land of Malibu and spend way too much time in the library looking outside when we could be sitting outside enjoying this weather,” senior Chris Krepich said.
The new access points will be located in the outer part of buildings to increment reception and avoid material barriers. See said the Pepperdine network suffers intermittent Wi-Fi access and slow speeds, mainly due to the buildings.
“I work outdoors when I can, especially when the weather is really nice, because I feel like I don’t get outdoors enough anyway. So if I can multitask and get my homework done out there, then I do,” junior Sarah Bender said.
Bender said she usually works outside when it’s really loud in the Caf or there are too many library desks taken. She also mentioned that she would like better wireless access at baseball games, since she enjoys watching the baseball team while doing her homework.
Physical materials known to interfere with wireless signal include lead, brick and insulation, among others. There is also interference from other electronic devices such as magnetic fields and wireless signals, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Pepperdine currently has one gigabit of bandwidth — only using 70 percent of it — and close to a thousand access points, but this doesn’t mean that Internet signal will be flawless, according to See.
“If I’m outside studying or doing research I can look at Pepperdine’s library page or something useful that I need for school. I think [access points] should be installed around the dorms. There are sitting places outside of the dorms; even Wi-Fi in general at the dorms is not very good,” sophomore Sapharah Prescod said.
See said video-streaming websites are some of the main obstacles to optimum Wi-Fi signal, since they take up the majority of the bandwidth. He also said current usage of the network affects speeds; students working in the library on a Wednesday night might suffer from slower speeds than those working in their dorms on a Friday night, due to network overflow.
Krepich mentioned the importance of having a steady and reliable Internet connection: “I’m starting to see a trend in which professors are not always using paperback books but a lot of times send online articles or PDF access articles that you can’t access from outside, so you wind up in the library,” he said.
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