PA Academic Facilities Equipped with Wireless Network

When students returned to campus this fall, they found that PA had installed partial or full wireless networks in most academic buildings on campus. Valerie Roman, Director of Technology, said that PA had discussed plans for the wireless system for approximately four years. However, the Academy delayed the implementation of the wireless network on campus for financial reasons. According to Ms. Roman, numerous components contribute to the cost of installing a secure wireless network in such a large campus as PA. She said, “[These components] include site surveys, cabling, access points, network equipment such as WiSM and PoE switches, authentication servers, management licensing, [and] maintenance.” To keep the wireless network secure, all users have to confirm their identity through 802.1x, and according to Ms. Roman, “all wireless traffic is encrypted.” Ms. Roman believes that the wireless program has been very successful on campus. She believes that the network has the usual glitches associated with the introduction of new technology, but no big problems. She noted that the Office of Technology manages the wireless network, and that both the Network and Systems Services team and the Technology and Instructional Support team support and implement the program. Regarding the locations for the wireless, Ms. Roman said, “The Academic Committee on Technology recommended that the area in each academic building where faculty convene and collaborate be done, plus the library. That was accomplished over the summer. Gelb already had wireless and whenever we create a technology-enhanced classroom in SamPhil, wireless capability in that classroom is available.” The establishment of the network has brought about positive changes. Stephanie Aude, Instructional Librarian, said, “As a librarian, it is easier for me to help people, [because they can] bring their computer and I can help them, and there are two machines going at the same time.” Michael Blake, Associate Director for Instructional Services in the Library, said that the new wireless network on the first and second floor of the library has been very successful. According to Mr. Blake, the OWHL has continued to fight for the wireless network, whose proposal was initially opposed due to a variety of security issues and financial barriers. Meg Ishizuka ’08 said, “I think it makes everything more convenient, because in the library, there are never any computers available and now I don’t have to wait. I can bring my own.” According to Ms. Roman, the initial wireless network infrastructure was installed on campus as part of the Gelb Science Center project. As of now, full wireless network coverage is available at Gelb Science Center and Pearson Hall. Partial coverage is available in Borden Gym, Bulfinch Hall, Shuman Admission Center, Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, Morse Hall, Graves Hall, Samuel Phillips Hall, George Washington Hall, Elson Arts Center, Cochran Chapel, Abbot Hall and Draper Hall.