RIT Teams with Cisco Systems to Roll Out Campuswide Wireless Access

Students receive hands-on participation in system’s deployment




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Rochester Institute of Technology is taking a major step towards upgrading access to wireless technology on campus. Through a partnership with Cisco Systems Inc., RIT is expanding its wireless capabilities to cover most of the campus, including all academic facilities and common areas inside the residence halls.

Wireless access on campus is currently limited to some academic areas. RIT’s networking communications department will be working throughout the remainder of the academic year on the design and deployment of wireless capability in additional facilities to ensure widespread access.

“Universal wireless access will be a key to our campus’ future success in attracting and retaining top-tier students and faculty,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “This cross section of users challenges us to lead the transformation of how students, faculty and staff connect, communicate and collaborate.”

Wireless access is among one of the top concerns raised by students as it relates to their academic success. RIT Student Government championed efforts in support of the university’s investment in this technology.

Students in RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences are playing an important role in implementing the university’s expanded wireless capabilities. Under the direction of Bruce Hartpence, associate professor of networking, security, and systems administration, students are receiving hands-on participation in the project’s deployment, providing valuable experience in preparation for careers in the wireless communication field.

RIT’s wireless project also sets the foundation for enhanced use of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP telephony, to members of the campus community. Depending on their location, individuals with dual-mode mobile phones will be permitted access to the wireless signal, allowing users to control costs associated with their cellular plans.

“This fixed-to-mobile convergence solution permits individuals to be automatically connected over the wireless signal,” explains Jeanne Casares, RIT’s chief information officer. “It reduces the number of minutes used on their cellular plans without requiring them to manually switch to the wireless network.”

The project team plans site surveys in preparation to expand wireless access inside the residence halls to possibly include individual living spaces. Design features of the residence halls make widespread deployment more challenging than in other areas of campus. A future assessment will be made to determine if full implementation in the residence halls will take place during a later phase of the project.

Completion of wireless access inside all RIT academic facilities is scheduled for this summer.

NOTE: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. Nearly 16,500 full- and part-time students are enrolled in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs at RIT, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2009 edition of The Best 368 Colleges and in Barron’s Best Buys in Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT as a “Great College to Work For.”