Students help expand campus wireless zone

Thanks to collaboration between Information and Educational Technology (IET) and student government, some popular student hangouts gained wireless Internet access in 2006. More additions are in the works.

Last school year, in a meeting with senior officials of IET, representatives of the Associated Students of UC Davis lobbied for more wireless access on campus. Part of the campus was already covered, but some logical expansion sites in high student-traffic areas had been stuck on "pending" because money to make them wireless wasn't available.

ASUCD representatives were interested in better coverage on the Quad and on the first two floors of the Memorial Union. IET and ASUCD decided to pool resources to improve wireless in these areas. The student government allocated $12,000 to IET toward that goal.

"Thanks to ASUCD's generous donation, more sites are going to have wireless coverage," said Zack O'Donnell, client services manager for IET-Communications Resources. "Our wireless design for the Quad improved coverage with fewer devices than originally estimated. Now, with this extra equipment [available], ASUCD has authorized installations in the Rec Pool Lodge, South Silo patio, and Olson basement." Work on the additions should begin this school year.

For a map of wireless areas on campus, click here.

Outfitting the entire campus with wireless would cost millions of dollars. The Campus Council for Information Technology (CCFIT) has been setting priorities to take on the expansion one step at a time. CCFIT is working on the charter for a subcommittee responsible for establishing priorities and advising Pete Siegel, vice provost for IET and chief information officer, on which areas of campus need wireless access t he most.

"As the campus grows and changes, so will the subcommittee's priorities," said Matt Bishop, computer science professor and chair of the CCFIT Wireless Task Group. "As funds become available, the administration can use the priorities to deploy wireless as effectively as possible."