Wi-Fi Availability (High-Density Usage Areas)

Project Description

One of the most explosive growths in technology is the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It is not uncommon today for students to have both a smartphone and a laptop and/or tablet, and all require concurrent access to the wireless network. In fact, spring 2014 network statistics indicate the mobile device usage is 2.8 devices per student.

As students continue to expect access to campus resources from the device or devices of their choice, the campus Wi-Fi must be capable of handling the increased traffic. This issue is most acute in high-density student usage areas. The 2012-13 student success fee made it possible for ITS to increase the Wi-Fi availability. ITS surveyed the University's existing wireless infrastructure and identified three high-usage areas — Salazar Hall, the Golden Eagle Food Court and King Hall.  New access points, licenses, controllers and new software were implemented in these areas, as well as filling in other areas with limited coverage. Achieving this goal allowed students to study, learn, communicate and access resources from any campus location.

Project Status

Phase One of improving wireless availability consisted of two steps.

  • The first step upgraded the wireless controller software and was completed on August 21, 2012. This software upgrade included enhancements that allowed for better wireless management, thereby eliminating known connection issues.
  • The second step replaced the legacy wireless access points (APs) with faster 802.11n radios and was completed on September 28, 2012. Completing this step immediately improved performance issues, such as signal strength, signal speed (3-fold improvement), signal range, bandwidth and channel management service. These improvements were made by changing the way the wireless equipment communicates with each of the devices that students bring to campus.

At the end of Phase One, the CSULA wireless network met industry best practices.

Phase Two was performed throughout the fall quarter 2012 and consisted of conducting wireless surveys across the campus to measure both signal strength and capacity in all classroom buildings and other areas where students tend to congregate. Based on the results, the Salazar Hall upgrade was completed before the start of winter 2013 quarter; the Food Court upgrade was completed by mid-winter 2013 quarter; and King Hall will be completed during summer 2014 quarter.

ITS continues to survey the campus to identify areas where there is little or no signal. Once those areas are identified, ITS will make adjustments as required.

Student Benefits

All students on campus will benefit from the increased availability. It's important that students can have access when they need it, without the inconvenience of blocked access. And it's important that the increased use of mobile devices doesn't strain the network availability. This project contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of student access to teaching and learning technologies, applications, tools and campus resources.

How Do I Get Started?

To access the Internet from the campus wireless network, students will need a myCSULA Identity account for login.

Training and Resources

Information regarding the wireless network is available at Welcome to the Cal State L.A. Wireless Network web page.

Various handouts to assist network users are also available in the Wireless! Quickstart Guides.