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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 11 | Sep. 5 , 2002

UBC Launches Canada's Largest Campus Wireless Network

Computer users free to roam

By Brian Lin

UBC's students, faculty and staff no longer need to be chained to their desks to be connected to the world.

This fall, 50 per cent of campus buildings will be hooked up to an enormous campus wireless network - the largest in Canada - allowing laptop and hand-held computer users to easily access the Internet, communicate with others and still bask in the warmth of the autumn sun.

For the past year, the University Network Program has been building possibly the largest wireless network of any university in North America. Access point transceivers have already been installed in and outside of Koerner Library, in the War Memorial Gym, Brock Hall, and Koerner Pub. By mid-2003, all classrooms, labs, offices and some student social space will be wireless-compatible.

The wireless network is already having an impact on service delivery at UBC and students will be the first to benefit from the added freedom. In the first two weeks of September, volunteers with wireless laptops will offer students waiting in line at Brock Hall an opportunity to check their fees on-line.

"By providing an alternative to busy computer labs, the new campus wireless Local Area Network will substantially improve students' access to computing resources," says Electronic and Computer Engineering Adjunct Prof. Dave Michelson, who is a consultant on the project.

"Few organizations have deployed Wireless Local Area Network (LAN) technology on this scale," Michelson adds. "The lessons that we learn will in many cases represent significant contributions to knowledge."

The deployment is part of UBC's e-Strategy to support work, learning and research using on-line technologies. Wireless networking will ensure intellectual and creative endeavors aren't limited by the length of the telephone cord.

"This will create a new and exciting platform that will provide unparalleled high speed mobile access to UBC information systems and the Internet," says Project Manager Jonn Martell, who expects students will soon develop innovative ways to make wireless computing part of their learning experience.

The wireless network was designed to be very user friendly. With the LAN card properly installed, the connection will be automatic in designated areas. Users can then log in using their Campus-wide Log-in, Interchange, or NetInfo user ID and be instantly connected to the Web.

Many students are already taking advantage of existing wireless compatible environments, such as the laptop loaner program at the Chapman Learning Commons in the Main Library. Wireless LAN cards will soon be made available through Koerner Library's circulation desk. They are also available for sale at the Bookstore.

For more information and a complete list of wireless enabled locations, visit http://www.wireless.ubc.ca.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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