The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News February 10, 2006

North Campus Goes Wireless
Internet Lounge: Noah lounges are now outfitted with wireless internet access.

As the information age expands, Oberlin is jumping on the bandwagon by expanding its wireless internet access to the lounges in Noah.

“We are steadily installing wireless capability in [all] residence halls, specifically in common areas and lounges,” said Chief Technology Officer, John Bucher.

Some residents may even get lucky with personal room upgrades.

“The way wireless works is it’s a radio signal so some rooms near lounges may get connectivity, but we’re not trying to do that,” explained Bucher.

This addition of wireless for North Campus is part of a project that is supposed to take place over a ten-week period. Due to the amount of time and labor required to install wireless internet, dorms are being connected one at a time.

“We started with North Campus and are working our way south,” said Bucher.

As of now the project is ahead of schedule. Originally the wireless network was to be installed over this semester and be ready for use by the fall. However, it is already available in many of the dorm lounges. In fact, according to Bucher, it is already available in most of the dorms.

Wireless in East Hall was completed last year, the Union Street houses had wireless from the time students moved in, and many other dorms on North Campus already have access for the Spring semester. Noah will be one of the last dorms on North Campus to get wireless internet.

But wireless is not completely wireless — that is, it is connected by wire to the campus network. Center for Information Technology has to install a wireless unit connected to the internet before an area can go wireless. Then it is up to “outside contractors to pull wires to the radio transmitters” said Bucher.

“The technology is called WiFi with 802.11b type of radio waves sent out,” said Bucher. “Depending on how many people are using it, the speed varies.”

This is the same system that Mudd uses.

“Wall connections are usually faster than wireless,” continued Bucher. “It’s unlikely that a wireless transmission will ever be as fast as wire, but who knows.”

Student opinion on the upgrade is mixed.

“I think it’s a good idea if there’s the money for it but if the school is in such a financial crisis, it’s not crucial,” said Penelope Fisher, College sophomore. “The money might be better spent fixing up the original network.”

“It’s bogus to just have it in the lounges,” said Zach Steinman, a College junior. “If I can’t use it in my room then it is useless to me.”

“It’s useless to me because I don’t have a laptop but it’s good for others,” said College junior Samantha Lacki.


Powered by