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Wi-Fi demands force upgrade

By January, updated Wi-Fi will be ready for use in all student dorms. It’s no secret the Wi-Fi on campus has been lagging in the race to stream Netflix, upload documents and immerse in social media.

Information Technology (IT) is aware of the problem, and a solution has been bought. Through installations of 900 access points over the next three years, campus Wi-Fi will experience a facelift.

“Everything is mobile today. Students are coming with up to five devices, and staff is coming with up to three devices. We have more devices on campus than ever before,” said Mike Mathews, chief information officer.
Wi-Fi was last installed at ORU six years ago, and the average student arrived on campus with one device. Since then, the number of devices has tripled, and the capacity of the Wi-Fi has diminished.

Extreme Networks provides Internet for the school. The company also currently provides seamless wireless connectivity to 35 of Fortune 100 companies, in addition to NFL stadiums across the United States.
“We chose to work with Extreme Networks because of their experience in multiple technology disciplines and project management expertise they possess worldwide,” Mathews said.

The new Wi-Fi network will also help students make the most of online classes and distance learning.

“The primary driver of this initiative is that if we can make education fluid and if we have fluid technology, we can have successful student outcomes,” Mathews said.

Mathews has a goal of making ORU a more connected campus. Through the use of technology and telepresence robots, ORU has been able to facilitate campus tours, student interviews and even graduate students over the web. A recent student, located over 1,000 miles away in South Carolina, experienced graduation through the power of the Internet.

In addition to improving the Wi-Fi, wireless intelligence analytics will be fully accessible to IT. The analytics will be used to track “hot spots” and connectivity on campus in an effort to give a quality, repeatable user experience.

By the end of three years, the 263-acre campus will be fully equipped with roughly 1,300 access points ranging from spots outside the Deli to walkways around campus, as well as additional antennas to improve the service of phone providers.

Installation of the new Wi-Fi network has begun in Christ’s Chapel. The dorm upgrades will be finished over the Christmas break.

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