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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Wi-Fi revamp in the works around campus

Shelby Knowles— THE BATTALION
Nutritional sciences senior Sarah Bermudez attempts to connect to the Wi-Fi around Blocker, which should soon be upgraded.
Shelby Knowles— THE BATTALION Nutritional sciences senior Sarah Bermudez attempts to connect to the Wi-Fi around Blocker, which should soon be upgraded.

Texas A&M is trying to make life easier for students on the go by improving Wi-Fi access around campus. The A&M Information Technology department has started adding outdoor Wi-Fi access to highly trafficked areas around campus and popular bus stops.
Lacey Baze, assistant director of product strategy and communication for the A&M IT department, said outdoor Wi-Fi has already been added to the Rudder Fountain area, the MSC bus stops and the Fish Pond area. The IT department also upgraded the wireless Internet infrastructure in the Blocker building.
Baze said the IT department plans to make more outdoor wireless access points available soon, and will continue upgrading the Wi-Fi capabilities of some older buildings.
“With the explosion of mobile devices, students need Internet access in places they haven’t needed it before,” Baze said.
Baze said the IT department has already started working on creating wireless access points at the Sbisa bus stop, the West Campus green space between Kleberg and the Horticulture building and the Trigon bus stop. Baze said the Sbisa bus stop Wi-Fi should be completed in the next few weeks, while the West Campus green space Wi-Fi should be completed by the end of the summer semester.
Willis Marti, director of network ing and information security for the IT department, said although the IT department has planned to add outdoor Wi-Fi around buildings for a few years, the idea to add Wi-Fi to bus stops is fairly recent.
By sharing the power and data infrastructure already running to the automated gate-arms that block the streets at the large bus stops, the IT department can install new Wi-Fi access points fairly simply, Marti said.
Although it may take months to install a Wi-Fi access point on the outside of a building, Marti said Wi-Fi can be added to the bus gates in only a day.
Marti said the locations for the new Wi-Fi points were chosen and prioritized based on a survey conducted by student government about where students would like to see more internet access.
Marti said the A&M IT department’s recent improvement of Blocker’s Wi-Fi was more of an update than an installment. Blocker was one of the earliest buildings on campus to get wireless Internet access, so its capabilities were outdated and needed to be upgraded.
“We expect each student to have three devices with them, so to keep up with that demand we needed to upgrade,” Baze said.
Peter Jarboe, meteorology sophomore, regularly attends classes in Blocker. Jarboe said he could only get Wi-Fi in Blocker’s main front hallway before the building was upgraded, but now he can get online both in the big lecture halls and in the smaller classrooms.
“It’s nice to have Wi-Fi I can use and actually count on being there,” Jarboe said.
Baze said the IT department constantly upgrades older buildings on a cycle. Baze said student input plays a role in which buildings are scheduled for the next round of improvements.

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