The blue Ethernet cords—synonymous with “internet access” for many boarding students—are going extinct. This past summer, a total of 22 dorms on campus, more than half of the school’s dorms, installed wireless Internet connections.
By end of the 2012 summer vacation, each dorm on campus will be fully equipped with wireless Internet technology. Installations will be taking place throughout the school year during each seasonal vacation.
Paul Murphy, Dean of Students, said, “I think ever since we put the Internet in, we knew that we were going to have to go wireless one day. And it was just a matter of time until it really came together.”
Dorms in West Quad South, West Quad North, and Abbot Clusters were the first to be equipped with the wireless Internet. The technology department attempted to expedite installations by grouping dorms together geographically.
Uday Singh ’12, President of Student Council, Dominick Veneto, Director of Information Technology and Nancy Alpert, Associate Director of Network and Systems Services, worked together with the support of the Phillips Academy Administration to implement wireless Internet on campus.
The groundwork for the project began in Fall 2010, when it came to the attention of the Technology Department that dorms on campus were falling behind contemporary standards of Internet access and met with the Senior Administrative Council.
Veneto said, “We worked with the Senior Administrative Counsel and told them that we needed allocated money to do this. And that was no problem… It was a significant amount of money to do this the right way.”
“Unfortunately, some students will not be able to benefit from the Internet as early as others. But, in reality, being able to do this over the course of just one year is very efficient and a very effective use of the money and the folks that are working very diligently on this project,” he continued.
While Singh emphasized the introduction of wireless Internet to dorms in his campaign platform for President this past spring, the Technology Department were largely responsible in taking charge of installation efforts and funding the wireless connection.
“I ran with the campaign promise of Wifi and, right after I won, I realized that, with so many goals and promises based in technology, I should meet with the man that runs the technology at the school, Mr. Veneto,” said Singh.
“I met with him and, from that point forward, it was as though the [Infromation Technology] Department started to take [the project] over. And it was a blessing in disguise. I was going to work with a group from California, but because the [Information Technology] Department was so proactive about it, it just made so much more sense this way.” he continued.
The dorms with access to wireless Internet currently include: Samaritan House, Smith House, Stimpson Hall, Rockwell, Andover Cottage, Bancroft Hall, Bishop Hall, Eaton Cottage, Isham Hall, Pemberton House, Adams Hall, Taylor Hall, Alumni House, America House, Carriage House, Carter House, Clement House, Double Brick, Flagg House, Stowe House, Johnson Hall and Bertha Bailey House.
Veneto said, “Selecting dorms was not arbitrary. Part of it was thinking: what dorms can we do well, do quickly, and do first, depending on whether or not we could get access to some buildings versus others? And then we just put a list together, working in that order, and then made our way through the list.“
Remaining dorms without wireless Internet connection will receive attention intermittently throughout the year.
Because the installation process involves extensive time, equipment and personnel, students cannot be in their dorms while installations are taking place. Therefore, new installations have been set to take place during each of the school year breaks, and will follow careful scheduling created by the Technology Department.
“We are really working at this aggressively,” said Veneto.
Alpert said, “And we did get more done this summer than we had hoped so we are a little bit ahead of schedule already.”
In an effort to maximize the wireless Internet connection speed in all areas of the dorm, each dorm has wireless network access points installed throughout the building.
Alpert said, “We hope that students are responding positively to this. And if there are any issues with speed or accessing the network, we would like to hear about that, as well.”
Singh said, “It is all really exciting. I think [this project] really captures how students, the administration, the student council and the [Information Technology] Department can all come together cohesively to achieve common goals.”