TWIN FALLS — It was a common complaint among College of Southern Idaho students: Wireless Internet access wasn’t always reliable — or even existent in some places.
But now, that’s changing.
CSI is upgrading wireless infrastructure at its Twin Falls campus to include 185 access points — both indoor and outdoor. The college plans to wrap up the project by the end of 2017.
Students often complained about not having wireless access in outdoor public spaces such as gathering areas and parking lots. Plus, CSI’s old wireless system was outdated and the manufacturer is no longer supporting the equipment.
“Before, if you ever asked any students on campus what our wireless was like, they said ‘it was terrible. It sucks,’” said Bruce Nukaya, systems and network architecture director for CSI.
The $160,000 project includes two phases and started last year. The first one, which is complete, included installing new wireless access points inside campus buildings.
Now, CSI information technology employees are wrapping up the second phase: installing outdoor access points. It has about 25 left to go.
CSI student body president Lance Teske said it’s typically faster and more convenient for students to use their personal devices to do schoolwork than going to school computer labs.
It means students aren’t restricted on when and how they can do their homework, he said, and many rely on CSI’s wireless Internet if they don’t have access at home.
“It’s impossible to do any kind of classwork without having Internet access,” Teske said. “Most of the time, it’s much easier to use your own personal device.”
When student body leaders were doing skits during an event at the beginning of the school year, one was about how wireless Internet was terrible outdoors at CSI, he said. “It’s almost a joke on campus that you’re just not going to have connection in certain areas.”
Teske said he appreciates how CSI administrators are listening to students and working to fix the problem. “I know it’s a process.”
The wireless project kicked off in June 2016 with a trial run in three buildings on campus.
“Our wireless infrastructure was becoming outdated,” Nukaya said. “We went out and redesigned the whole thing from scratch.”
CSI is using Ruckus Wireless equipment, which Nukaya describes as state-of-the-art and the newest technology for high-speed Internet.
Manufacturer engineers completed site surveys at CSI to determine what kind of wireless coverage the college needed.
It’s important for CSI to support students and stay up-to-date with modern technology, Nukaya said. “In this day and age, everybody has to have wireless.”