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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New WiFi hotspots to open soon

    Undeclared freshmen Josh and Lee Klein surf the net wirelessly Monday afternoon in the Student Union Memorial Center food court. The student union will soon feature one of many new wireless access points soon to open on campus.
    Undeclared freshmen Josh and Lee Klein surf the net wirelessly Monday afternoon in the Student Union Memorial Center food court. The student union will soon feature one of many new wireless access points soon to open on campus.

    A UA wireless expansion project has taken longer than expected to test and install across campus this summer, but students may soon be able to access the system in six UA buildings, administrators said.

    The new system, UA WiFi, was installed in the Student Union Memorial Center, Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, Main Library, Science and Engineering Library, Park Student Union and the Fine Arts Libratory, but it has yet to be turned on, said Bob Lancaster, co-director at the Center for Computing and Information Technology.

    “”We will be testing these systems. Once this is concluded, we’ll put out announcements as to exact days buildings will come on,”” Lancaster said.

    This summer CCIT staff had problems implementing the new system, which required help from Intel and Cisco Systems wireless specialists, according to the CCIT Web site.

    “”Every effort is being made to get the system up and compatible, with the least amount of impact on the users, with regard to their computer’s configuration,”” said Kelley Bogart, campus information security coordinator.

    Lancaster said the UA WiFi Internet system will be much more secure for users than last year’s “”UA Wireless”” system because of new technology included in the system.

    “”It requires that you run antivirus software,”” Lancaster said. “”It makes sure incoming laptops are not already infected. Also, wireless traffic is encrypted.””

    The $4.5 million wireless expansion project was funded by a $65-per-year student technology fee that was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in March.

    The progress of the project was slowed this summer because CCIT couldn’t get the student fee funding until fall tuition had been paid, Bogart said.

    “”We had to go out there and secure some funds to buy the hardware,”” Bogart said. “”It has been a very aggressive project so far.””

    Bogart said UA WiFi is up and running in the CCIT building, but the UA Wireless system is still being used in other areas on campus.

    The emphasis on wireless Internet expansion by CCIT is due, in part, to the increase in laptop ownership, Lancaster said.

    “”Once you have a (UA) Net ID, you can run on the system,”” Lancaster said. “”The idea is mobility. You want to move around and get your work done and be connected wherever you are.””

    In a survey administered by CCIT last spring, about 47 percent of students said that they wanted wireless access in the classroom, 19 percent wanted access in the common areas outside and 11 percent wanted access in residence halls.

    Lancaster said that he has heard differing opinions on the effect that wireless access may have in classrooms.

    “”I’ve heard it both ways. Some say, ‘What would make it any different than cell phones?'”” Lancaster said. “”I’ve heard many faculty say that they are going to use the technology and incorporate it into their lessons.””

    “”It’s brilliant,”” said Michael Brand, a history exchange student. “”I’d imagine I will use it when I’m on campus. Saves you having to go to the library.””

    Oscar J. Martinez, a history professor, said that without teacher intervention in the classroom, students could abuse the new system.

    “”It seems to me that if there aren’t any controls in the classrooms, students are free to do other things, and that would be detrimental,”” Martinez said. “”I’d tell them to go somewhere else.””

    Undeclared freshman Carl Johnson said he understands the potential complaints teachers may have about the access but said it will be good for his situation.

    “”I will enjoy it, especially in my room because we have a shared study room in my dorm. We can’t have computers in our rooms,”” Johnson said.

    The new system will be advertised across campus to students once it is accessible, Lancaster said.

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