Students face challenges with getting connected onto the internet, problems are a result of too many users connected. (Courtesy of Ben Dalton/Creative Commons)
The Saddleback College IT department’s plans to expand the campus’s network connection, which frequently drops users, will be addressed in their first meeting at the end of March.
Anthony Maciel, director of Technology Services and Broadcast Systems, is the driving force behind this initiative. He first noted the spotty coverage when he began working at Saddleback in July of 2013.
“I noticed areas of the campus did not have wireless coverage,” Maciel said. “The terrain and mere size of the campus poses a challenge for complete wireless coverage.”
Maciel asked the Basic Aid Allocation Resource Committee to help pay for an expansion. He has also been working with the technology committee to conduct a survey for students.
He also worked with the District-wide Technology Committee to compose a survey of Saddleback student experiences and concerns. The results of the questionnaire revealed wireless connection was a main concern, especially for students who brought more than one wireless device to school.
“The goal is to design a wireless network that will cover the campus and be able to sustain the demand of student and employee use,” Maciel said. “This is a very complicated project because there are many components to it, such as electrical power, trenching, drilling, etc.”
The IT team is going to replace the current system with new hardware and software, giving the staff and over 2,200 students using the network at the same time a stronger signal as well as gigabyte speed.
“I like having the option to connect to the Wi-Fi for faster results when I bring my laptop to school and need to look something up, or when I need to check my email to see if a class got cancelled,” 21-year-old marketing major Sierra Adams said.
Brittany Graham, a 27-year-old nursing major, would like to see the process of joining the network made easier, as she uses her computer in many classes.
“I would like it if they made logging on less difficult,” Graham said.
The plan for the expansion is said to last about 12 months, but as with major projects like this one, the end date may be prolonged. The Wi-Fi will be up and running throughout the process of upgrading, but at some point it will need to switch to the new system. When the time comes to change over, it will be done during a period of little campus activity.