Residences get Wi-Fi upgrade

Wilfrid Laurier University’s residences have received an Internet upgrade for incoming first-year students.

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Laurier’s information and communication technologies department put Wi-Fi into all the residences and common areas on campus in August.

Ken Boyd, director of information and communications technology solutions, said this project has been in the works for over a year and a half.

“This is really a one-shot, unique opportunity for us to help improve students’ lives, so we’re taking full advantage of it,” he said.

According to Boyd, it was a challenge for ICT to complete the initiative because the project would be considered a capital purchase in the university’s budget.

ICT was looking at around $600,000 in material costs to install Wi-Fi into all on-campus student residences. They were able to complete the project as a result of a loan from Laurier.

Boyd explained that when the loan was approved last fall, ICT had to select tech equipment vendors to install the connections for the Wi-Fi. ICT was able to start buying and selecting vendors at the end of April this year.

Boyd continued that some of the Laurier residences were fully wired for Wi-Fi as of early August, including Bouckaert, Euler, Leupold, Waterloo College Hall, King Street, University Place, Bricker, Little House and Conrad “A” wing.

The buildings then underwent a set of tests to ensure everything was working properly.

The remaining Conrad wings, MacDonald House and Willison Hall were completed mid-August.

According to Boyd, ICT had trenches dug alongside the driveway at MacDonald House and Willison Hall to enable installation of a fibre connection, a project that was completed at the end of August.

The Wi-Fi will be connected in every bedroom and common area on campus by the end of the project.

ICT will also be hiring students to provide after-hours and weekend ResNet support when Laurier goes full Wi-Fi in the fall.

These students will be able to provide help to their fellow peers with unforeseen issues.

“Typically, the support calls only come in the month of September and January — after that it died down,” said Boyd. “So we’ll provide opportunities for students to make some extra money at the student service desk in September and January.”

Laurier Wi-Fi on campus also offers a three-gigabyte data pipe to students. Most schools across Ontario only have a one-gigabyte data pipe for the entire school.

Wi-Fi in all residences and common areas is expected to be completed by the time all first-year students move in.

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