Students can expect to see wireless Internet access arriving in
many new areas of campus by the end of this month, most notably the
Michigan Union, the Michigan League and Pierpont Commons.

Janna Hutz
MBA students Patrick Sahm and Robert Arocha browse the Internet over a wireless connection in the Tap Room of the Michigan Union yesterday. (JEFF LEHNERT/Daily)

The Union’s wireless network was brought online shortly
before winter break in December, but accessibility is not being
publicized while Information Technology Central Services works out
glitches in the system.

“We brought it out without too much fanfare just to make
sure all of the bugs were out of it,” said John Brockett,
director of technology for the Division of Student Affairs.

The three buildings plan to advertise the new systems together
once the other two locations are functioning properly. The League
and Pierpont Commons were expected to start running wireless
connections this week, but work is still in progress.

“It’s a schedule of things getting set up. I believe
all of the equipment, if not installed, is in the process of being
installed. Hopefully this month we will have all three facilities
up and running,” Brockett said.

Currently, the wireless networks on the ground and first floor
of the Union are functioning. On the ground floor, the only areas
included in the network are the Tap Room and food court area.

More areas are included on the first floor, such as the study
lounge, art lounge, patio and terrace. Union Director Audrey
Schwimmer said that ITCS has tested locations to make sure the
system functions properly.

“They’ve been working on the installation for
probably over a year now, and actually determining the spread of
the areas in which it would cover,” Schwimmer said.

There are currently no plans to add more wireless coverage areas
in the Union, such as the offices on the third and fourth
floors.

“There is no plan to do internal office areas. The ground
and first floors are areas we capitalized on because there are so
many more open areas for students that we thought would be
advantageous for them to use,” Schwimmer said.

According to ITCS, it is more difficult to develop a wireless
network in older buildings such as the Union because the
building’s architecture cannot be modified.

The process of converting areas of campus to offer wireless
service depends on the individual buildings and is up to the
discretion of different schools such as the College of Literature,
Science and the Arts, said Andy Palms, director of Communication
Systems for ITCS.

“LSA is looking at doing most of their buildings. I expect
LSA to be doing a fair amount of wireless networking,” Palms
said.

The main benefit of the new networks in the Union, League and
Commons is that all students can access the system. The School of
Engineering and School of Education also have systems, but they are
only available to students of those schools.

“Certainly our board — the Michigan Union Board of
Representatives — has been working with ITCS for a couple of
years now, trying to partner to bring wireless to the Union,
knowing and kind of having a good sense that this is something that
students want,” Palms said.

Several other buildings on campus already offer limited wireless
Internet services, such as the Harold Shapiro Undergraduate
Library, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the Angell Hall
Courtyard Campus Computing site.

Overall, students are pleasantly surprised by the new system,
such as Brad Dobbie, an Engineering freshman.

“It will be more efficient group work with that resource.
I do most individual work in my dorm, so I just have it through
Ethernet, but when I leave for group work, it’s really useful
to be able to fully use a laptop,” Dobbie said.

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