Wireless Internet Service Now Found Throughout GCC

GCC students no longer have to go to coffee shops like Starbucks and get charged by the minute for wireless Internet service. Unknown to many, most buildings on campus are hooked up to a wireless Internet network, allowing students with laptops to surf the Web almost anywhere in the college.

When the community passed ballot Measure G, a $98 million bond measure for the college, largely through President John Davitt’s efforts three years ago, some of the funds were used for the “technology component” on the Verdugo and Garfield campuses, according to David Mathews, the college’s Director of Network Planning and Operation.

The funding was used partly to implement a converged phone and data network system. “Part of the tech plan was to include a wireless network with a total of 60 access points located on both campuses,” said Mathews. “The network supports 802.11G and 802.11A WiFi standards, meaning it operates at 11 or 54 megabits per second.”

Out of the 60 wireless access points, 14 have already been deployed and are fully accessible to students. Mathews said that although wiring slowed down the deployment process, his goal is “to have all the access points set up in a couple of months.”

“The goal is to have every area in every building on campus covered,” Mathews added. Once this has been done, students can simply open up their laptops in any building on campus and access the Internet within these WiFi hotspots.

Wireless Internet access is currently available in the Arroyo Seco, Santa Barbara, Camino Real, Cimmarusti Science Center, Sierra Madre, Library and San Rafael buildings. Even Plaza Vaquero, the cafeteria, the Cafe Vaquero kiosk and the Student Center conference rooms are WiFi hotspots.

Mathews said that many students have already been using the wireless system, although some of them think they are doing something prohibited. Most students access the system in the library at noon, according to the computer tracking charts monitored by the Information Technology Services (ITS) department.

Psychology professor Michael Dulay said that he hopes free Internet access will encourage students “to not leave, even if they’re not happy with the parking situation.”

“This would mean … that the college could be more efficient in its service to students,” Dulay said.