New Building to Bring Additional Wi-Fi Access

Alin Boughousi, Staff Writer

Connecting to the Internet on campus may seem like going back to the dial-up days. The signal is slow and sporadic. Students are frustrated with the current service, as many need the Internet to do research and homework.

Kim Antezana, 22, a biology major who uses the Internet almost every day, has a hard time connecting while on campus.

“It’s pretty good in certain areas but other areas you can’t get a connection,” said Antezana. “Sometimes you can’t even get to the “accept” page to connect to the Wi-Fi.”

Media Arts student Erica Hernandez, 19, is another frustrated student who depends on the internet to get her school work done.

“I hate that it logs you off whenever you turn off your phone,” Hernandez said. “You have to keep logging in every time.”

The IT department’s Marc Drescher knows that the Wi-Fi connection isn’t working well and plans to upgrade the system. There are 46 access points currently on campus and 17 access points at the Garfield campus.

“When I started my new role as chief information system officer in October, I was told the wireless coverage on campus was not adequate,” Drescher said. “Our ITS network administrators conducted a predictive survey and identified the areas lacking coverage.”

Based on this information Drescher has created a plan to nearly double the number of wireless access points on campus.

He said that once complete, GCC would have more than 100 access points, not including new building.

According to Drescher, the Wi-Fi signal at campus meets the current standard, which is currently 802.11n. That allows the signal transmission to go up to 300 million bits per second but that speed is internal and not for Internet use. The Internet download speed will vary per device.

A saying among some computer science students equates that signal to being told it is possible to drive at 100 mph inside a parking lot, but once you get on to the street you can only do only 30.

The plan to upgrade the system is going through the priority and budget phase. The cost of the improvements and upgrades will be very expensive, anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000.

The ITS department will be adding 60 access points to the new College Lab/Services building, which will open in fall 2015. A new Wi-Fi standard called 802.11ac will be implemented at the new building. This will allow the internal speed up to 900 million bits per second.

“I am confident this plan will be in place soon,” said Drescher.