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Wireless Web

Beginning this semester, students living in Offenhauer Towers and Kohl Hall will be able to access the Internet more easily than ever.

Wireless Internet access points have been installed in both residence halls, allowing residents living there to go online without the use of cables.

Wireless-enabled laptop computers will also be available in each building for residents to use starting next week.

This new service is part of an effort to make the Internet wirelessly accessible throughout campus.

Although no definite timelines are set, the University is working to offer wireless Internet access all over campus in the near future, according to Mike Hachtel, assistant director of Residence Life for Information Technology. However, this is too big of a project to be completed immediately.

“[Right now] the goal is to have at least one access point per residential area,” Hachtel said.

The growing accessibility to wireless Internet on campus is primarily a result of the expectations of students.

“We’ve expanded because there is demand and interest for it,” said Tim King, associate director of Residence Life for Administration and Technology.

Wireless Internet access is also a result of the fact that more students are bringing laptop computers to the University with them.

Last year, approximately 40 percent of students had laptops. This year, about 50 percent of students brought them.

“Students live in a more mobile society,” King said. “[With wireless access], students aren’t stuck in one room or computer lab.”

In order to take advantage of wireless Internet access, students must have a 802.11b wireless card on their computer.

Wireless Internet is not just for those who own a laptop computer, however.

All students can check out wireless-enabled laptops at the Jerome Library for use within the library anytime.

Although it is convenient for students to go online anytime, almost anywhere, wireless access does have its disadvantages.

Wireless access tends to be slower and less secure than wire access, Hachtel said.

Hachtel suggests that students don’t complete transactions over wireless connections due to the security concern.

Also, anyone connected to the Internet wirelessly at the University will have to log on every 12 hours, whenever they move out of the area with wireless capabilities or whenever they reboot their computer.

Despite the potential negative issues wireless access might raise, so far no serious issues have been reported, Hachtel said.

“We haven’t had many problems,” he said.

Because of the limits of wireless connections, wire connections on campus are not going to be completely replaced by wireless.

“Wireless is not replacing, only augmenting, wire networks,” Hachtel said.

For more information about wireless Internet access on campus, call the Residential Computing Connection at 372-8077 or visit http://rcc.bgsu.edu.

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