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Residence Halls Upgraded to Next-Generation Wi-Fi

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DoIT’s Data Network Services team worked with Campus Residences and employed 10 student workers to help install the new wireless access points in the residence halls during the summer. Here’s the team finishing up work in West Apartments back in June.

Students living on campus can now experience Wi-Fi nearly twice as fast as last year thanks to a massive upgrade of residence hall access points (APs) that took place this summer. Across campus, 1,900 wireless access points were upgraded to use the next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which can process data nearly four times as fast as the previous standard — 802.11n.

While the new access points will increase network speeds for everyone, they are also designed to support a new class of wireless devices, like the new iPhone 6, which will take full advantage of the new technology for even faster speeds.

“You typically need to replace electronics and technology every three years,” said Behzad Barzideh, senior network architect at Stony Brook. “The access points in our residence halls were first installed back in 2009, so it was time for them to be replaced. . . . We’re hopeful they will last us another five years, if not more.”

Stony Brook University is on the leading edge of implementing the 802.11ac technology, along with universities like Yale, which uses the same network solution partner, Aruba Networks.

The summer project was a collaboration between Aruba, DoIT’s Data Network Services team, Campus Residences and a team of 10 student employees. The group worked quickly to replace the access points in each room and common area in the residence halls. For efficiency, the workers divided into two groups that tag-teamed during the upgrade process — one group removed the old access points and the other trailed behind, installing and wiring the new system.

“It was a great team effort with DoIT’s Data Network Services staff working in conjunction with Campus Residences and our vendor partner, Aruba, who tested the equipment and assisted us,” said Stony Brook’s Director of Data Network Services James Hart. “Originally we estimated having this project completed in time for the Spring 2015 semester, but through a well-coordinated team effort, we were able to complete it in mid-September, which was fantastic considering the APs all had to be repositioned on the walls and re-cabled.”

In addition to the residence halls, 802.11ac Wi-Fi has already been installed in the Javits Lecture Hall and the new Stony Brook Arena. The Stony Brook University network supports more than 14,000 wireless devices in the residence halls and has increased its capacity more than 300 percent since 2009.

— Will Welch ’16; photo by Zifei Wu ’15

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