October 28, 2011

OSU students now enjoy faster and more accessible wireless Internet access on the Corvallis campus, thanks to a series of wireless expansion projects undertaken over the last year and a half.

These improvements were funded through student fees and were designed specifically to better serve students, with the ultimate goal of making students more productive and more successful in our increasingly mobile environment.

802.11n Access Points Quadruple Available Bandwidth

The first significant improvement was implemented in the summer of 2010, when Network Services, a unit of Information Services, replaced older single-band access points across campus with dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) access points that conform to the IEEE 802.11n wireless standard.

This improvement allows students equipped with dual-band wireless adapters to utilize up to 200 Mbps of bandwidth in ideal conditions – four times the available bandwidth under the old system – and allows students to better utilize intensive online resources and rich media content.

New OSU_ResNet Network Serves Residence Halls Exclusively

Network Services then partnered with University Housing & Dining Services in the summer of 2011 to implement the new OSU_ResNet wireless network. This network serves students in residence halls exclusively. In all, nearly 300 access points were added to give students a way to connect to the Internet using devices that don't come with an Ethernet jack, such as iPads and smartphones.

How to Access the Improved Networks

Information Services advises students purchasing laptops and tablets to purchase a device with a dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) wireless adapter.

All Macintosh computers and iPads ship with a dual-band adapter, as do high-end Windows laptops. Lower-cost laptops typically ship with a single-band adapter (example: Intel Centrino Wireless-N adapters) and require an upgrade to a dual-band adapter (example: Intel Centrino Advanced-N and Ultimate-N adapters) to fully leverage the increased bandwidth.

Students are also advised that walls, structures, and physical distance from an access point reduce your connection speed. The number of users accessing a network or access point can also limit your connection. For assistance with optimizing your wireless connection, see the Wireless FAQ on the OSU Helpdocs website.