Information and Technology

New Wireless for the New Year

Nani Durnan '13 using wireless at Hawthorne Longfellow Library

Story posted January 24, 2012

Students, faculty and staff now have a faster and better wireless signal.  Over the break, Information Technology staff replaced every wireless access point across the entire campus, covering 95 buildings. Bowdoin boasts over 400 new wireless access points, with the latest technology released just a few months ago. Our campus is one of the the first site-wide deployment of Cisco’s new 3600 series wireless access points.

These new Cisco wireless access points are 10 times faster and handle interference better, resulting in a much stronger wireless signal to laptops, iPads and Smartphones. The access points themselves are "smart." If they detect any interference from microwave ovens or game consoles, for example, they automatically compensate. Using a technology called “beamforming,” the access point adjusts the signal depending on where you are sitting in a room, providing you the best possible signal.

In areas that have high concentrations of wireless users, such as Smith Union, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and classrooms, more access points were added to match the wireless demands. The concrete material and layout of Coles Tower has been a challenge for providing quality wireless service. The solution was to quadruple the number of wireless access points in the building and move them from the hallways to the living quarters. Coles' residents now have a strong wireless signal

When you spot one of these 10 x 10 white access points on a ceiling or wall, you will notice there is an LED light displaying one of three colors. A green light means it is operational and waiting for a person to connect to it, blue means one or more persons are using it, and red means it is restarting itself and will be available soon.

Bowdoin now has a higher performance wireless system that will help support student life, faculty research and the use of mobile technologies. More access points will be added as needed. If you notice that wireless signal is not strong in a particular location, let us know using our wireless feedback form.

Pictured above:
Nani Durnan '13 using wireless at Hawthorne Longfellow Library

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Preparing new wireless equipment to be installed at the athletic fields., New wireless equipment at the athletic fields., New wireless equipment being tested in Hawthorne Longfellow Library, Testing the new wireless equipment began during the summer, 2011., Testing new wireless equipment on the top of Gibson Hall, Summer 2011,