Published September 19, 2022
Providing fast and reliable Wi-Fi for tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff across three campuses is no easy task. It requires careful planning and constant improvement. Here’s what UBIT is doing to keep UB Wi-Fi on the cutting edge.
Over the next two years, every access point on campus will be replaced with new models that can provide the latest Wi-Fi technology, designed for faster speeds and less congestion. UBIT is also doubling access points in student living spaces and providing coverage in more outdoor areas.
UB students, faculty and staff expect to have reliable Wi-Fi all over campus. This is even more true for students living on campus, who use the internet at UB for work and recreation. Read on to find out what UBIT is doing to meet those expectations, and make the challenging goal of ubiquitous Wi-Fi a reality.
The premise is simple: more access points mean less congestion, which means faster and more reliable Wi-Fi. That’s why, in 2022, UBIT began a project to double the number of Wi-Fi access points in student living spaces, providing each room with its own access point.
The project started with Flint Village, and will move on shortly to Goodyear and Clement Halls, which are also undergoing other renovations during the Fall 2022 semester.
The biggest challenge of upgrading Wi-Fi in student areas is finding a time when students aren’t around and using the Wi-Fi. The upgrade plan calls for the other dorms to be completed over the summer and at other times when students are away.
Indoor Wi-Fi upgrades are just the beginning. UBIT is also partnering with Campus Living to assess and upgrade coverage in outdoor areas. Currently, the plan includes blanketing the outdoors areas around the Ellicott complex with Wi-Fi.
This follows several years of additions to outdoor spaces at UB covered by Wi-Fi. In 2020, UB extended Wi-Fi to parking lots to support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, UB improved Wi-Fi coverage in outdoor spaces along the North Campus academic spine and throughout the center of South Campus, which has been augmented even further in 2022.
Laptops and smartphones get better every year, with newer features that take advantage of the latest network technology. And as devices get better, the networks that connect them need to get better too.
But upgrading UB’s Wi-Fi network is not so simple. With thousands of access points to replace, a full network upgrade can take several years, and taking even parts of the network offline for upgrades could disrupt a substantial amount of work and learning.
So how does UB’s Wi-Fi stay up to date? By upgrading not based on today’s technology, but tomorrow’s.
For example: the phone in your pocket today probably isn’t equipped to take advantage of the newest Wi-Fi 6e standard, which can handle more connections and deliver faster speeds. But the phone you’ll be carrying around three years from now almost certainly will be Wi-Fi 6e-enabled. And when you bring your future phone to campus, our networks will be ready.
All new access points at UB are Wi-Fi 6 or 6e capable, so there’ll be no need for another upgrade when these new standards become popular. In the meantime, you’ll also be able to connect using the previous Wi-Fi standards still in use today.
Did you know that, once you connect to eduroam Wi-Fi at UB, you’ll stay connected at UB and when you travel to hundreds of other campuses across the country, and the world?
The first step is connecting your devices, and we can help! Visit the UBIT website to find out how to connect your devices to eduroam.
If you’re having trouble connecting to eduroam Wi-Fi (or UB Devices, the companion network just for media devices like smart TVs and gaming consoles), contact the UBIT Help Center online or by phone at 716-645-3542.