NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.- Sitting in the McKelvey campus center as I write this story, I have between three and four bars on my phone’s WiFi connection. When I’m back in my room at Galbreath, I also get between three and four bars.
I have a PS4, laptop, phone, and ipod all connected to WiFi. That’s four of my devices all connected at once. This semester the connections have remained strong and steady, outside of a few campus power outages.
“The old wireless access points in the residence halls were built to handle one device per person, not 2-5 devices per person,” said Erin Smith, Associate Dean for LIS. “The new system can support up to 5 devices per person.”
Westminster College spent $1.5 million on upgrades to the internet and WiFi. The money comes from bonds the college took out for campus wide improvements.
The new WIFI on campus appears to be a big improvement over last year for the students interviewed for this story. According to Smith, the reliability of of the physical campus network will make the technology experience in the residence halls more the one they expect.
“The new software that powers the WiFi allows our students to connect popular devices such as gaming systems, televisions, and many streaming media devices to our network.”
Students returned to campus in August to discover that the hardwired ethernet ports in dorms were disconnected. Smith explained the cabling inside the walls was disintegrating. College officials found bandoning the dorm ethernet was the cheaper way to go.
“We know from connection logs that less than 5% of the ports in the residence halls were being used, and that was in a year when the wireless network was pretty shaky at times.”
Chris Hilbert, a Sophomore living in Galbreath likes the upgrades.
“This year I’ve been pretty impressed by it, it’s the only time I’ve been able to play videogames for once.”
Other improvements include streaming capabilities, which is big news for Netflix users.
“It has been a little bit sketchy, but about a few minutes the picture becomes crisp and clean,” said Hilbert.
Smith says that next summer, improvements will start in other campus buildings.
Need help connecting devices to WC Wifi. Log onto MyWestminster for instructions.