The University is gradually extending its
wireless network to the Michigan Union, an addition that comes
later than the University first anticipated. Last March, the
University launched its pilot program, UM Wireless Network, in the
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the Shapiro Undergraduate
Library, as well as in the Angell Hall computing site. As the first
wireless services were installed, plans to extend wireless Internet
beyond the initial three pilot locations were formulated. While the
Union, the Michigan League and Pierpont Commons were scheduled to
have wireless networks implemented by late last year, they were
pushed back. Services are finally being installed, showing the
University is technologically uncompetitive compared to some rival
institutions. While it is indeed praiseworthy that the University
is beginning to extend wireless Internet throughout the campus, the
University’s current offerings are a far cry from those at
other universities.

Amita Madan

Compared to other universities, the University’s push to
go wireless has been sluggish at best. Western Michigan University
has its Wireless Western system. Using Cisco Systems as its
networking manager and equipment provider, Western became the first
major public research university in the country to create an
entirely wireless computing campus. Western began installing Cisco
Airnet access points in June 2001, at a time when the University
did not have any wireless services plans.

During last summer, Computing and Media Services at Syracuse
University unveiled Network AirOrange. By using a laptop equipped
with a compatible network card, students, faculty and staff can
connect to the Syracuse network from several locations around
campus. Emory University has wireless service implemented in dorms
and libraries, while Cornell University has RedRover, a broadband
wireless available in all campus libraries, most dorms and most
major buildings and facilities on its central campus. Cornell
students, faculty and staff have free wireless access through their
university accounts and simply log into the network using a
wireless card. What is most impressive about Cornell’s
wireless program is a student’s ability to borrow a laptop
with wireless access from any campus library.

While wireless Internet in the Union is certainly a necessary
addition, our wireless Internet services are hardly adequate when
compared to other institutions around the country, it hardly deems
adequate. At a time when a great deal of universities have wireless
Internet capabilities on their campuses, our University is lagging
behind. It can be tough to keep up with the consistent changes and
additions of technology. But as the University is one of the
country’s most prestigious institutions, continually setting
academic precedents. It should be no different in its use of
advanced technology.

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