SIU to install campus-wide Wi-Fi

Students and faculty will be connected to the Internet everywhere on campus by next fall.

David Crane, assistant provost and chief information officer, announced at Tuesday’s Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting that the university plans to install Wi-Fi across the whole campus by the beginning of next school year.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said in an email the university is expanding wireless capabilities on campus to improve student learning by harnessing easier Internet access across the university.

“We are working on (installing Wi-Fi) already and will continue to both add new areas for wireless and upgrade current modes for improved service,” she said in the email.

Cheng said the project’s funding has come from a budget already in place at the university.

“Our technology unit has a budget for hardware and software that is used for academic areas, including the library and classrooms, and housing fees fund wireless in the residence halls,” she said.

Cheng said the campus will not undergo any physical changes to achieve campus-wide Wi-Fi since the technology the university already uses works better than the old wireless installations.

Offering the service should not be a problem as long as Wi-Fi points are posted around campus, said Alex Merchant, a junior from Grayslake studying computer sciences.

“They just need to have some kind of Wi-Fi modems at someplace (on campus),” he said. “That’s about it. It’d be pricey if they did that, but it’s completely do-able.”

Merchant said the price could vary on a project such as this, as it depends on the quality and longevity of use the university wants to get from it.

He said the university’s goal to complete the project by next school year is a realistic date. Merchant said most buildings around campus already contain Wi-Fi, and it is just a matter of expanding the range to allow coverage outside as well.

Most students are thrilled by the prospect of being connected to the Internet anywhere on campus.

Geoffrey Boise, a senior from Tolono studying criminal justice and criminology, said he is excited about the Wi-Fi.

“Even though I’m about gone from (SIU), in the past years I’ve had trouble with (it) and it’s nice to know that we are actually doing something about it,” he said.

Boise said the Wi-Fi would help out students like him who are on campus for most of the day and complete most of their work around the university. He said he thinks campus-wide Internet is the last technological upgrade the university needs to stay modern.

Though the Internet access would provide more opportunities to get work done, Boise said he could also see students abusing it by web surfing during class time.

“I think there’s that possibility (for misuse),” he said. “I think it just comes down to the responsibility of the student. It wouldn’t surprise me, though. I’ve seen people in class just on Facebook before.”

Abdulrahman Alsaydalhashim, a sophomore from Saudi Arabia studying political science, said the Wi-Fi would help him.

“Sometimes I’m at the park waiting or some parking lot inside my car, so it would help me a lot for browsing or even for studying,” he said.

Alsaydalhashim said he thinks students who want to work hard will not misuse the Internet connections available while in class. He said people who would misuse it already do, so there would not be much of a difference.

He said he thinks the campus should look to install more lighting before campus-wide Internet connectivity, but he thinks both are important for the school to function.

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