Although the University had planned to expand its wireless
Internet connections on campus this year, they will only be added
to selected sites due to lack of funding.
For the College of Literature, Science and Arts, the University
plans to equip only a small number of classrooms: the lobby area of
Haven Hall, the Chemistry Building atrium and the East Hall
atriums, LSA Associate Dean Phil Hanlon said.
He said the college originally planned to install wireless
Internet in all LSA classrooms and offices this year, but the
estimated cost of $3 million dollars was too high for the
University’s limited budget as a result of state budget
Wireless Internet on campus allows students to connect to the
Internet at broadband speeds without Ethernet cables.
Currently, wireless Internet is available in the Michigan Union
underground, the Michigan League, the Angell Hall computing site,
the Harold Shapiro Undergraduate Library, the Harlan Hatcher
Graduate Library and various places in the Business School, the Law
School and on North Campus.
Testifying in front of the state Senate Appropriations Committee
three weeks ago, University President Mary Sue Coleman reported
that the University will have to cut, at a minimum, $20 million out
of its operating budget for 2005.
“Everyone is trying to deal with the budget cuts,”
said Andy Palms, director of Information Technology Central
But even if colleges and departments have sufficient funds for
more wireless access, they may opt to spend it elsewhere.
Palms emphasized that the dean of each college will ultimately
decide how to use the allotted money.
Hanlon said the initial goal to outfit all LSA spaces will
eventually be completed, but the exact timing depends largely on
budget constraints over the next several years.
“Given the tight budget, we will only be able to move
forward with a portion of this project over the next few fiscal
years,” Hanlon said.
Palms said wireless service is becoming as common as cell phone
Dan Maletta, senior systems resident programmer for the College
of Engineering, said the college has proposed to add more access
“There are no firm numbers yet, but the cuts will probably
affect how much we can deploy,” Maletta said.
Edward Adams, Business School chief technology officer and
director said that although wireless was implemented throughout its
facilities in 2000, there are places in the Business School were
the coverage does not reach. To increase coverage, they are
planning to double access points.
“The dean hasn’t allocated anything (to the wireless
project) yet … but we can’t back down on something
like this. It’s too vital to what we do,” he said.
Other large universities have already made wireless Internet a
top objective. Wendy Woodward, director of Technology Support
Services at Northwestern University, said in a written statement,
“As wireless access expands worldwide, campus access will be
more of a focus.
(Students) expect to be able to connect to the network
throughout the day, and this is most readily accomplished
wirelessly,” Woodward said. “We are definitely
committed to expanding the wireless network.”
Northwestern has many wireless access points on campus,
including some classrooms and most dining halls.
Students on the University campus expressed interest in a
wireless expansion similar to Northwestern University’s.
“I would like to see more in classrooms before I
graduate,” LSA sophomore Amy Schaldenbrand said.
Jon Schwartz, an LSA senior, said that he has wireless Internet
in his apartment and uses it frequently.
“I want to see more wireless access in classrooms and at
all the tables in the Union,” he added.