Campus-Wide Wireless Comes to St. Mary's


This past summer St. Mary’s initiated a yearlong plan to upgrade the college’s residence halls by installing wireless Internet access, an upgrade from past usage of Ethernet cords and security software.

The process started two years ago when Michael Gass, Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Office of Information Technology, assembled an ad-hoc committee to take on the issue. With the help of student representatives, the committee was tasked with improving the college’s ability to meet the networking needs of the campus. Gass and the committee determined that the placement of wireless units in the residence halls was the best way to address 


In response to this recommendation, Chip Jackson, vice president for business and financial affairs, agreed to support the residence hall upgrades. After a long and arduous summer, a milestone had been reached: a public unsecured wireless network had been set up across campus. Two weeks later, a secure wireless network was set up for everyone’s use.


In the words of senior Teresa Padgett, a current resident of the Greens, “I sure do not miss the Ethernet cords. I am so happy I can move around my house and not have to worry about plugging in my computer.” Senior Bradley Roberts, another Greens resident, exclaimed, “my router used to be unpredictable, but now with the current Wi-Fi, I am able to rely on it better.”


As with most good things, it takes time to adjust to the changes. “We knew that when we put it in we would have to pay attention to and make adjustments as needed because of signals strength isn’t always as sufficient,” Michael Gass.


Firewalls in between residences’ units in Lewis Quadrangle (LQ) caused problems with the Office of Information Technology. “We had to order additional equipement and will be installing extra access points in common areas in LQ to make sure that everyone has a decent signal and can access the signal that way,” Michael Gass.


“We have had a few service interruption within the first week, but as of now I have no problems with it. Its has been working pretty well,” Steve Weir, a current senior living in LQ.


The Office of Information Technology asks that students who are having internet problems to contact their office and inform them of any issues since it is impossible for them to know otherwise.