In response to recent complaints about the University of Michigan’s cellular coverage, Information and Technology Services is in the process of improving the Wi-Fi in 275 buildings across campus, to make Wi-Fi calling more accessible to students and faculty.

In many places on campus, calls may not go through because some buildings have poor cellular coverage. According to a press release, some of the newer, more environmentally friendly buildings on campus in particular are made out of materials that block out radio frequency signals, which makes cellular coverage poor and makes it difficult to make phone calls.

Wi-Fi calling aims to solve this problem because it allows its users to make calls over Wi-Fi networks when the cellular signal is low, as well as call, text and use voicemail as they would on a cellular network.

In an interview Andy Palms, executive director of ITS Communicative Systems and Data Centers, said major cell phone carriers have all recently added the option of Wi-Fi calling to their offerings, with Verizon being the latest. On some cell phones, telephone calls can go back and forth between using Wi-Fi and cellular networks. However, the option is not yet available on all cellular devices. If a device is able to make Wi-Fi calls, the option will have to be turned on in the phone settings menu.

Palms said the University has been expecting to upgrade their Wi-Fi, knowing phone carriers were going to begin using both Wi-Fi and network for phone conversations.

“Now it’s almost everything goes over the Wi-Fi or the data networks that are on campus, whether it’s video services or telephone service now, and obviously the usual Internet service,” he said.

Palms said students can also expect to see an upgrade in access points around campus for better coverage and faster service.


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