UI officially switches to eduroam for campus wireless

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 08, 2012 6:30 AM

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Beginning Friday, University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff will be able to operate their phones, laptops, iPads, and other Internet-connected devices under one campus-wide wireless connection, joining a slew of other colleges and universities across the country.

The UI reported in August it planned on making the conversion to a single Internet wireless connection by Nov. 1, with the actual switch coming a week later than anticipated.

The University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison all operate or are testing the possibility of operating under Education Roaming. Officials at Wisconsin and Indiana could not be reached for comment as of Wednesday evening.

Commonly referred to as eduroam, it will become the single Internet-server system used from building to building as well as the many open green spaces on campus, including the Pentacrest and Hubbard Park. Since May, it has operated alongside UI-Wireless-WPA2, but officials say there is only really the need for one wireless connection.

“They are the same infrastructure, just really two names for the same thing,” ITS Director of Network Services Steve Troester said. “The problems we had this fall were related to the bugs in the software of the vendor’s hardware platform. There have been a lot of problems not related to eduroam. Over the summer, we made a number of infrastructures.”

UI officials say that in heavily used buildings such as the IMU, there is more than one access point that students can technically be on. The maximum limit of connections per access point is 128.

Up to date official Internet use figures were not available as of Wednesday evening.

Like many students his age, UI freshman Michael Begovich uses the Internet for more than just school-related work. He often finds himself using content-rich websites including YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora Internet Radio.

“When I’m in my dorm room using the Internet for whatever I need, I prefer to use the Ethernet cable because it’s a faster, more reliable connection,” he said.

He believes the concept of having numerous Internet servers is necessary to feed the growing Internet bandwidth demand on and off campus.

“They need numerous servers at the university because of the number of people who are on [the Internet] each day for better performance and reliability,” he said. “Sometimes you can’t even connect.”

— by Quentin Misiag

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