BGSU makes $4.7 million investment in wireless upgrade across its campuses
University project of updating entire wireless network to be completed in 15 months
By Bob Cunningham ’18
Bowling Green State University recently started a $4.7 million wireless project to update the nearly 3,000 wireless access points (WAPs) across its campuses in Bowling Green, Huron, Sandusky and Perrysburg.
This project will replace the University’s entire wireless network and backend with leading technology over the next 15 months. Included in this project will be an expansion of BGSU’s wireless network and capacity as well as increased security while simplifying Wi-Fi user access for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.
There are five University residence halls and some administrative buildings being updated over the summer. The project kicked off in early May in Centennial Hall.
“Most of our efforts will be a complete redo of each of the residence halls in order to have better Wi-Fi coverage,” said John Ellinger, chief information officer at BGSU. “Technically speaking, the old access points could serve about 25 devices each. The new access points can handle anywhere from 80 to 90 devices.
“The capacity for devices is substantially improved from when we installed the original access points back in 2012 when an average student maybe had one or two Wi-Fi accessible devices. Today, the average is about 7-8 Wi-Fi devices that students bring with them to the residence halls.”
The project is a part of the University’s Strategic and Foundational Objective IV: “Supporting Public Good Through Efficient and Effective Processes, Structures and Technologies.” Initiative 15: Technology-enabled states that BGSU will develop and implement a technology plan that includes learning space enhancements, emerging technologies, mobile learning and technology-enhanced pedagogy in the classroom.
Having the University update its Wi-Fi coverage provides additional capacity and reliability, Ellinger said, which is important with students relying on technology more and more — especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic — each year.
It is no longer a “nice thing to have,” but a necessity for the population across the University's campuses.
“For students these days, they are totally digital,” Ellinger said. “If they get on their laptop, it's for a class or for something to watch. The rest of the time, they’re on their phone or gaming. Today's students expect to have fast, reliable and secure access to campus Wi-Fi.”
The University also is putting access antennas on the outside of some buildings to cover parking lots, particularly the commuter parking lot on the west and north sides of Perry Field House, as well as the other commuter lofts around campus.
In addition to the residence halls and administration buildings, the wireless upgrade will include the Stroh Center and the Slater Family Ice Arena, improving Wi-Fi access to Falcon fans during games.