Wireless Network Upgrade

Project Description

Each year, students, faculty and staff bring more and more mobile devices to campus, all of which are simultaneously vying for access to the campus wireless network.  A recent analysis of student network logins indicated approximately 2.7 devices per student.

In preparation for the anticipated increase in wireless bandwidth usage, Information Technology Services completed a major upgrade to the campus wireless network in all campus buildings and open areas.  Specifically, the existing Wi-Fi access point radios, 802.11n, were upgraded to the next generation Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac.  This standard is also known as Gigabit Wi-Fi.

During the project, ITS worked with CSI Electrical Contractors to upgrade 550 existing access points and install 209 new ones to improve campus coverage.

Project Timeline

Work began on July 21, 2014 and continued throughout the summer quarter.  Work was scheduled daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

It took approximately 15 to 20 minutes to replace an access point, so user impact was minimal.  The majority of access points were in open areas and hallways, but some are located in classrooms and offices.  If a classroom was in session, the team moved to another location and returned later to avoid impacting students and classes.

User Benefits

The new access points  provide data transfer speeds up to three times faster than users experienced prior to the upgrade.

With the completion of this project, Cal State L.A. became the first and only CSU campus to be operating on the new Wi-Fi standard in all buildings and open areas..