Wireless Expansion Project Underway


There’s no question about it—wireless connectivity is an essential part of life at The Ohio State University. Without reliable wireless, students would fail to submit Carmen assignments on time; researchers would have a hard time collaborating in the cloud over key data points; staff and faculty would struggle to communicate efficiently with their colleges and departments. Wireless simply HAS to work, and it has to be able to support tens of thousands of devices concurrently.

Every year, we see an increase in devices connecting to our wireless networks, as well as an increase to online coursework. Further, with initiatives like Digital Flagship in motion, expanding our networks is more important than ever.

“We are committed to continued improvement of our wireless networks, which is why we’re investing in new infrastructure and updates to expand coverage,” said Mike Hiatt, Director of Networking and Network Architecture.

From Autumn 2018 to Summer 2020, wireless coverage will be expanding at Ohio State, including Columbus campus, regional campuses and extension locations. During this time, several thousand new access points will be added to buildings as well as outdoor structures to expand overall square footage coverage. The outdoor coverage alone is estimated to increase to 6 million square feet by Summer 2020, up from the current 1.2 million square feet that currently benefit from wireless connectivity.

For this project, locations have been prioritized with customers in mind, with a focus on academic spaces first. The list of areas that will be home to additional wireless access points includes various academic buildings, the Oval and South Oval in Columbus, Ohio Stadium, the Schottenstein Center, extension locations and a wide range of outdoor spaces across all Ohio State campuses.

Despite all of this maintenance work, the only impact to customers will be better connectivity and the ability to connect in new places!

There is little to no anticipated downtime for the existing wireless network as well. The wireless team is also changing the way they conduct planned maintenance to upgrade our current access points (APs). The new maintenance method involves upgrading APs on a rolling basis over a longer period of time to allow for continued connectivity during the maintenance window, rather than causing an outage.

Improving our existing network while expanding to new locations helps support the pillars of the university’s strategic plan.

“Our networks play an important role in supporting academics, furthering research and keeping our students, faculty and staff connected,” said Hiatt. “We are dedicated to improving our networks to meet your needs, and with the help of your feedback, we are better equipped to resolve issues and prioritize future expansion efforts.”

Students, faculty and staff can help improve wireless too. If users experience issues with wireless, we encourage them to submit a ticket to the IT Service Desk online at go.osu.edu/it or by calling 614-688-4357 (HELP). If users provide specific information about where they are and what device they are using, those details are very helpful in diagnosing the issue.