Let there be coverage: Shields’ Main Reading Room gets stronger wi-fi

The Main Reading Room in Shields Library
The Main Reading Room in Shields Library

Students who use the Main Reading Room in Shields Library now enjoy a much stronger connection to the campus wireless network, eduroam.

The new wireless access points
The new wireless access points

Information and Educational Technology and the library teamed up to install three wireless access points high on the room’s south wall on Tuesday, March 19. The points can handle more than 300 smartphones, tablets, or other wireless devices at a time. Prior wireless coverage came from access points downstairs.

The added technology improves the wi-fi speed and coverage in that part of Shields, the library announced as the access points were turned on.

Among the grandest rooms on campus

“This will be a huge benefit for that room,” said IET Network Operations Manager Chris Clements. “In addition, we will continue to work with the library’s information technology staff to find other areas that have poor or no coverage.” (Report a problem with wi-fi coverage to the library’s technical support team here.)

Dale Snapp, head of Information Technology Infrastructure Services for the library, visited the room several times March 19 to check the newly installed points. That afternoon he talked to four or five people in the room, which had filled with hundreds of students, and they told him the signal was strong.     

The Main Reading Room is on the second floor on the north side of Shields, just above the 24-Hour Study Room. It’s part of the building’s original wing built in 1940. The room has large windows, a soaring ceiling, and light fixtures that alumni from 70 years ago would recognize. It is among the grandest rooms on campus.

Have feedback about campus wi-fi? Let IET know

The library and IET installed these access points “in direct response to social media and other comments,” Clements said. “Keep letting us know. We hear you!” IET also plans to improve other heavily used locations around campus, with a focus on providing efficient spaces to study.

IET constantly evaluates the performance of the wireless network, and feedback from faculty, students and staff helps network managers decide where to add capacity.

If you have connection problems, contact the IT Express Service Desk with details, including time of day, location, symptoms, and the kind of device you’re using. If it’s an individual problem, IT Express can help you solve it, and if overall wi-fi capacity at the location is falling short of demand, they’ll route the information to the right people in IET.