IT Dept. infrastructure updates in progress; Wi-Fi to be improved

By Emily Salvatori, Assistant Editor

West Liberty University is in the process of updating the network infrastructure to provide academic and administrative buildings on campus with better Wi-Fi. They plan to start construction over the summer, and they hope to have the majority of the work completed before the fall semester begins.

Last semester, the West Liberty University Board of Governors approved a plan to improve the university’s network infrastructure. Since then, the Higher Education Policy Commission has also approved the plan. Now, West Liberty University is looking at vendors who are bidding to upgrade and improve the Wi-Fi in academic and administrative buildings on campus. They expect the project will start over the summer and should be substantially complete before students return for the fall semester.

“The essence of the project is that we have a one gig connection between all the buildings,” said Jim Clark, Chief Technology Officer at West Liberty University, “The project is slated to give us 10 gig speed, so a tenfold increase.”

The Comcast boxes provided in all residence halls will remain the same, but the campus’s Wi-Fi will see major improvements. This improvement will completely upgrade the entire system, not just include small-fixes.

Clark said, “There will be new core switching, there will be new edge switching, and there will be new access points, which will be more powerful than the existing access points we already have. So we will have a very large upgrade of the entire system.”

While they have not yet chosen a vendor, they are currently making a decision. Clark said, “We are carefully evaluating all the vendors at this point. We want to make a selection that is correct and is in the long-term interest of the university.”

“We are working directly with the Procurement Department, Katrina Hyde, and our Vice President of Finance Roberta Linger to, as an IT organization, get the right technology and get the technology in here that provides us with cost control,” Clark said. “Our objective is to reduce the cost and provide the university some benefit for moving to this technology. Clearly, being able to connect and do so when whenever you want to connect, having a wider area to connect – that is what we heard loud and clear from our students and is the basis upon which we designed this improvement.”

Photo credit: Emily Salvatori