Northwest Missouri State University officials have announced that the campus is currently undergoing a comprehensive upgrade of its wireless computer network — a project necessitated by increased demand for service.
"Northwest’s experience with the significantly increased demand on its wireless network parallels the experience other campuses across the nation are facing," said Roger Von Holzen, interim vice president of information systems.
"We listened to our students and understand the importance of technology in their daily lives."
In announcing the upgrade, the university cited a 2012 report by the information technology organization CIO highlighting the "consumerization" of campus networks nationwide. The trend, stated the report, is related to the arrival of student smartphones, tablets and personal entertainment devices such as Xbox and Wii.
Previously, Northwest had planned to upgrade about 20 percent of its wireless network devices each year, Von Holzen said. However, increased usage during the fall term resulted in disruptions and outages.
In October, the university purchased network equipment capable of enhancing internet access in Colden Hall and the "high-rise" dormitories on the northwest end of campus.
Additional gear was acquired in December for a similar round of upgrades at the B.D. Owens Library, the J.W. Jones Student Union, Valk Center, Wells Hall, The Station and Tower Suites.
Similar projects were to begin this week at South Complex, Hudson and Perrin halls, Roberta Hall and Forest Village Apartments. North Complex, which houses students attending the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, is scheduled for a wireless overhaul in June.
Installations at the campus’ remaining facilities, such as the Administration Building, Lamkin Activity Center and the Garrett-Strong Science Building, will take place on Friday afternoons and evenings as class schedules permit and should be complete this spring.
Von Holzen said much of the work revolves around adding new access points in order to create more capacity. The access points reportedly accommodate up to 90 devices as compared to 30 devices with the technology now being phased out.
Northwest has a history of innovation when it comes to digital information technology. In 1987, the university garnered national headlines by creating the nation's first campus-wide computing network installed at a public university.