Published March 26, 2015
UB plans to improve Wi-Fi reception on campus, doubling the number of access points and upgrading the system to the latest — and fastest —standards in the industry as part of UBIT’s Wi-Fi Boost initiative.
Work will begin this summer on the multi-year project, which will cover UB’s three campuses, 150 buildings and 11.5 million square feet of space. Upgrades will take place in residential buildings, academic buildings, athletics venues, outdoor spaces and basements to meet the diverse needs of the campus community. Classrooms and other spaces deemed essential to student success are expected to top the priority list.
“UB’s leadership feels Wi-Fi is a priority,” says J. Brice Bible, vice president and chief information officer. “We’ve made a substantial investment to strengthen our infrastructure, which enables construction of this new network.”
The project addresses complaints by students of poor Wi-Fi reception — the top response from those completing the 2014 Student Experience Survey about technology problems they’d faced during the past year — as well as the increasing use of Wi-Fi by all members of the UB community. UBIT reports that UB’s Wi-Fi handled 22,000 simultaneous sessions for the first time ever in 2014.
In developing the plan for Wi-Fi Boost, UBIT staff members have been gathering feedback from students about their experiences using the service, meeting with small groups in the residence halls, at a meeting of the Student Association Student Assembly and at a Graduate Student Association meeting.
Faculty and staff also have been consulted. Those polled as part of the UB TechQual+ 2014 survey found Wi-Fi service on campus to be inconsistent and unreliable. Moreover, UB faculty and staff satisfaction with campus W-Fi ranked lower than that of their colleagues at peer institutions.
UBIT plans to continue seeking feedback regarding Wi-Fi service from faculty, staff and students in the coming months, and encourages members of the university community to provide input via the UBIT Twitter and Facebook pages.