Information Technology (IT) took steps to improve the College’s Wifi network during Winter Break. Chief Information Officer for IT Services Mitch Davis said that IT installed about 45 new Wifi access points throughout campus and fixed many of these that were not working last semester.
Last semester there were several complaints about wireless connections at various parts of campus, but IT believes these changes will go a long way toward fixing them. One solution that IT has implemented is setting up temporary access points for special events. The department has also partnered up with Cisco to remodel the entire Bowdoin data network.
“[IT] upgraded the whole wireless network to the next generation of wireless controllers and we worked with Cisco to work out some of the details,” said Davis. “That gave us setting for multicasting—basically a better way to communicate with the system so it actually bumped up the performance of all the access point by about half, 50 percent. So all the connections should be better and the bandwidth which you have available to you should have increased.”
This new system also reports better back to the department. IT can tell which devices and which models are being used—but not to whom they belong—so they can understand better why the WiFi is so slow.
Davis explained that one of the main reasons why certain devices are so slow is that they are out of date. IT plans on running classes in which students can learn how to update devices such as iPhones, and not just apps, so that they better work with the updated network.
IT has also partnered with Oxford Networks and a new data network is being developed at the former Naval Air Station. For students this means that if the network ever shut down, Oxford Network’s data network would serve as a backup.
IT is also considering offering a class in which students can learn about making apps. The class will provide students with the tools to build apps that are relevant to their daily lives.
The Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) inspired IT to consider such a class. ITAC is in the process of developing multiple Bowdoin-related apps, including a mobile shuttle tracker app, a ride sharing app and a schedule app that will allow students to download their schedules onto their devices.
As for the app that would allow students to order from Jack Magee’s Pub on their phones or tablets, which was discussed last semester, Davis said that he met with Dining Service on Tuesday and met with ITAC yesterday to discuss it further. At this point, Dining Service is on board. There is no timetable for its development.
IT is still in the process of getting a Verizon tower put on campus. Davis said that it would most likely arrive by the end of the semester, and if not by then, definitely before the fall semester.