If you have strolled through campus lately, you may have noticed your wireless connection is coming up roses.
During the spring semester, the office of information technology (OIT) expanded WiFi service to outdoor areas on UNLV’s main campus on Maryland Parkway. The areas encompass the east and north malls, including the Alumni Amphitheatre and rose garden.
Twenty-five bollards with wireless access points were planted near buildings and open spaces to provide optimal WiFi coverage, where each access point provides up to 150 feet in connectivity. The project was funded by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.
As students and faculty seek more options to learn and work beyond the physical classroom, meeting the growing demand for fast, reliable internet anywhere on campus is a top priority.
“Wireless connectivity is critical to learning, teaching, and research,” said Lori Temple, vice provost for information technology. “The pandemic relief funding allowed us to address inadequate WiFi service in outdoor areas on campus. Better wireless coverage makes it more convenient for students to access online classes or study in their favorite place outside.”
Extending WiFi coverage to outdoor areas presented some challenges. The campus is an arboretum recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA, making the preservation of trees and plants important.
“A lot of thought and planning went into picking the locations for the bollards,” said OIT project manager Mancin Taylor, who worked closely with planning & construction on the project. “We wanted to make sure the areas would have adequate WiFi coverage but were careful to protect tree roots and restore vegetation throughout the installation process.”
The access points allow those connected to campus WiFi to roam university grounds with a lesser chance of dropping coverage in outdoor areas. For the best experience, students and employees should connect their devices to eduroam, UNLV’s secure WiFi network, and log in with their ACE credentials.
Planning for Continual IT Growth
OIT's latest project also added outdoor wireless coverage near the Lied Library and Cottage Grove parking garage and is part of a multi-year plan to grow network connectivity across campus, as noted in the infrastructure and shared governance core area of UNLV’s Top Tier 2.0 plan.
Before spring, OIT installed access points to the exterior of campus buildings to upgrade outdoor WiFi at several locations, including Greenspun Hall and the Student Services Complex Building A. Prior to that, it upgraded WiFi service for the residence halls.
“We are building a robust network to ensure WiFi connectivity is available throughout the main campus and beyond,” said Temple. “The investment is key to helping meet the increasing demand for the network connectivity needed to advance the university’s Top Tier vision.”
WiFi connectivity will continue to be upgraded and expanded, including the new university buildings sprouting up across the valley.