Wi-Fi installation progresses

Rebecca Cross, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University (FMU) Campus Technology has made a substantial stride in its effort to provide students with up-to-date wireless technology across campus.

As part of a bigger project, on Feb. 17, new Wi-Fi installation in the Forest Villas Apartments was completed, and the system was activated.  With the recent inclusion of the Forest Villas Apartments, all buildings on campus now have wireless systems.

“We [Campus Technology] had about $350,000 dedicated as a budget to replace all existing old wireless technology and add the resident’s halls and expand some of the other buildings,” John Dixon, university chief information officer, said.

Campus Technology’s effort to provide up-to-date wireless technology is to make it easier for students, faculty and administrators to connect to the internet in any building on campus.

The original Wi-Fi systems dated back to 2004 and were only installed in student-populated areas, such as Rogers Library and Founders Hall.

In 2008, Campus Technology expanded the number of buildings with wireless systems. The decision to upgrade all wireless systems on campus, including the Wi-Fi installation in the Forest Villas Apartments, was made in 2013 because the old systems were no longer trending with modern technology.

“The old technology was very cumbersome,” Dixon said.

Dixon explained that the new wireless system in the Forest Villas Apartments “was an effort to provide a convenience to the students.”

Cabling for the new Wi-Fi system in the Forest Villas Apartments began immediately following the 2013 winter break.  However, the late January snow storm and mid-February ice storm slowed the work for the installation.

Still, Campus Technology is ahead of schedule with their most recent Wi-Fi system installation; the Wi-Fi installation in the Forest Villas Apartments was originally projected to be completed during the summer of 2014.

“We try to do that kind of work during the summer because it is less invasive, but they [students] were ready for wireless, and they did not care if somebody was in their space working,” Teresa McDuffie, network administrator, said.  “So, we made every effort to accommodate that need.”

Most Wi-Fi installments and updates of the project have now been completed.

However, Campus Technology is currently completing updates on the wireless system in the McNair Science Building and plans to upgrade the wireless system in the downtown Performing Arts Center (PAC) in the near future.