By Jessica Stamp
Wi-Fi problems will no longer be an issue for students at Youngstown State University. This semester, the Wi-Fi will be enhanced to amplify the connection.
Ryan Geilhard, IT Infrastructure Service director, and his team have been working across campus replacing the old and sporadic Wi-Fi with faster and better access coverage.
Geilhard said this project is meant to improve Wi-Fi coverage so students can attend classes virtually, as well as bring Wi-Fi stability and better serve newer mobile devices.
“There were new devices like phones and laptops and newer antennas that were less compatible for the environment,” he said. “The wireless didn’t have adequate coverage in certain buildings, it didn’t allow as many devices to have access to better coverage.”
Rosalyn Donaldson, IT Service Desk and Technology training manager, said she received technology-related complaints and seeks to ensure there is adequate coverage throughout campus.
Over the summer and early fall, IT Service Desk checked several Wi-Fi sites around campus for stability, access points, where the hot spots are and what kind of devices are used more than others.
“One thing that people might not understand is that wireless has limited capability; it’s not unlimited,” she said. “If you’re in a place where there is a cluster of people, there’s a likelihood that you might run into less of a connection because you’re having to share the connectivity. You have a lot of people in the same spot fighting for a connection.”
Students on campus struggle to get a stable connection and find other ways to get Wi-Fi. Kenneth Vigorito, sophomore civil engineering major, said he has found some difficult spots with the Wi-Fi in the Maag Library.
“The Wi-Fi kind of gets stuck and when that happens, I can just connect to my own hot spot, so I don’t have to move,” he said.
Geilhard and his team were able to receive funding for the Wi-Fi upgrade project which cost $585,028 from CARES Act, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
“There wasn’t any YSU funding. It was all through the federal government,” he said. “It was something we were going to do anyway, so this allowed us to do it sooner and not have to go about spending YSU funds.”
The funding gave them a chance to upgrade about 600 Wi-Fi access points in 23 buildings as of now with more to follow, covering a little more than half of campus, with academic and student-centered areas like Kilcawley Center being prioritized.
By the end of December, Geilhard and his team hope to complete the Wi-Fi enhancement. They have partnered with Zenith Systems, a Bedford Heights electrical business, to help install the wireless upgrades faster.
“The work is being performed concurrently to many other projects and daily operations so that YSU faculty, staff and students can realize the benefits of improved Wi-Fi more quickly,” he said.
By the spring, Geilhard and his team will install a wireless coverage enhancement in the fountain area outside of Kilcawley Center.
“It was something that we have been wanting to do for a very long time based on student requests,” he said.