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Wireless Ethernet Network Technology

Marvin Marozas
Information Technology Services

Utilizing and integrating technology into the learning process is essential. Wireless Technology has proven to be a major technological trend. The University has closely followed this technological trend and has implemented it in several locations on campus.

Wireless for Coastal Carolina University:

Wireless Ethernet (hereafter referred to as “wireless”), based on the engineering standard (IEEE) 802.11x, is one of the most rapidly developing areas of network infrastructure today. Using wireless to attach to a network has been increasing in popularity since it became a mainstream technology approximately five years ago. Today most notebook computers come standard with wireless built in, and many new wireless devices such as PDAs (personal digital assistants like the Palm Pilot and Pocket PC), video cameras, printers, etc. are commercially available. In the near future, phones utilizing wireless will become commonplace and communicate through the campus’ network when on-site, nationwide cellular network when off campus, and residential wireless network when at home.

Coastal Carolina University was an early adapter of wireless technology, employing it in the Gardens residence hall since 2000. These buildings were originally built as residential apartments and lacked any conduit pathways which limited use of traditional copper network wiring. Using wireless proved to be a very cost effective solution to provide students access to the campus network. Coastal Carolina University continues to be a leader of state higher education institutions employing wireless and its coverage areas have grown considerably.

Wireless technology has drawbacks, the primary of which is security. Coastal Carolina University has invested in authentication and wireless security hardware to help insure that students, academic users, and the university are protected from illicit activity on the campus network. Now that this security hardware is in place, the wireless network can be expanded at a faster pace. Within the next two years, the technology plan calls for saturating all internal academic areas with wireless and building an external wireless umbrella to provide outside coverage to the West Campus and University Place. In addition, new point-to-point wireless technology is being employed to avoid costly, traditional backbone wiring (such as over fiber optic cable). This technology is being used to provide network access to the new Foundation Center and Community Partnership Building. Plans call for this technology to be used to connect to the Myrtle Beach, Waccamaw, and Georgetown Higher Education Centers and dramatically increase network bandwidth.

Wireless Coverage and Planned Coverage:

Location Current Coverage Planned Coverage
The Gardens 100% Finished
Cathcart Smith Science Center 100% Finished
Kearns Hall 100% Finished
University Hall 100% Finished
Kimbel Library 100% Finished
Wall Building 100% All classrooms
Edwards College of Humanities & Fine Arts 100% All classrooms
Eldred E. Prince (academic areas) 100% All classrooms
Student Center (student areas) 100% Finished
Student Center Deck (outdoor area) 100% Finished
Burroughs & Chapin for Marine & Wetland Studies 100% Finished
Coastal Science Center (current academic areas) 100% All classrooms
Williams Brice Physical EducationCenter 40% All classrooms
Arcadia Hall 60% All classrooms
Brooks Stadium (press area, hospitality, and home seating) 80% Finished
Georgetown Higher Educational Center 100% Finished
Waccamaw Higher Educational Center 100% Finished
Myrtle Beach Higher Educational Center 100% Finished
Outdoor Areas (West Campus) 95% Finished

Notice:
Students who have laptops need 802.11b/g, also known as WiFi, compatible Wireless NIC cards to access the Internet throughout any of the mentioned locations. Wireless cards now come standard on the majority of contemporary laptop computers.





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