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Wireless Networking Education Hardware

Intel Ranks Colleges with Best Wireless Access 526

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the fountains-of-knowledge-where-students-come-to-drink dept.
newdamage writes "Intel recently released it's ranking of The Most Unwired College Campuses and I was happy to see my school, Purdue, up there at #2. I can personally attest that my laptop w/ wireless card can be used over almost all of the main campus, and there's always a few people in lecture using laptops to access notes and take extra notes. Granted all I've found is that internet access in class just gives me a better way to not pay attention. What are other peoples' experiences with wireless access on their campus? Is there widespread coverage, and if so, does it help you get more school related work done by having your laptop connected where ever you are on campus?"
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Intel Ranks Colleges with Best Wireless Access

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  • 2 from Indiana? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by archer411 (713916) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:32PM (#8877179)
    Funny, I never would have thought Indiana would have the top two spots.
  • Re:MIT = 26? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ckd (72611) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:36PM (#8877225) Homepage
    Lots of older buildings mean not all of them have wireless coverage yet--but the interactive campus map [mit.edu] shows which ones do. Of course, since that list says MIT is in Boston (it isn't), perhaps they're trying to use WiFi in the old Boston location [mit.edu], which MIT hasn't used in almost 100 years....
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:36PM (#8877226) Homepage
    At Wake Forest University, rated the #2 Most Wired campus by the Princeton review, the campus-wide wireless network rollout is over the summer. And since half the students' laptops were found to have a defective component which IBM later recalled (and is replacing, starting three days ago and ending in a week) they're installing wireless cards as the machines are repaired.

    Since I have housing in the Technology Quarters, I had some experience with the wireless network which was installed here early, but it was only with a PDA and not a full laptop. My room had poor reception, and I couldn't get a signal in any interesting places (like outside on the sun roof or patio). I'm hoping that next year when there's more access points up my new dorm will have better reception, particularly in the nice courtyard area.

    Oh, and the network looks unencrypted so far. Which means I'll be checking my email with Pine over ssh. =b

  • by feronti (413011) <gsymonsNO@SPAMgsconsulting.biz> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:37PM (#8877230)
    But my partners in several group projects do, and they have come in handy many times when brainstorming to quickly assess the feasibility of our ideas right there. Granted, it could also be done in one of the public labs, but it is far more convenient to be able to work anywhere on campus. Plus, you don't have to deal with all the dirty looks from the people in the labs who are trying to concentrate. After just two semesters, I'm convinced, for the first time, that I could put a laptop to good use _as_ a laptop. Unfortunately, that doesn't make me able to afford one:)
  • by thdexter (239625) <dexter@suffusioOPENBSDns.net minus bsd> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:38PM (#8877235) Journal
    My institute, the University of Idaho [uidaho.edu], made #33, but there's only wireless access in the Commons (like the student union, except more full of offices), the library, and the Administration buildings. Though to be fair there's a bunch of classes in the Admin. The cooler part is that there's IBM laptops available for checkout that are all wireless internet-enabled at both the library and the commons, available in two-hour blocks, with wireless printer access too--makes it easy to get a burger and print off the chemistry pre-lab before you have to go do it, heh.
  • Good/Bad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shadowkoder (707230) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:39PM (#8877242)
    I find in the classroom, internet access is more-so a distracting thing than a good thing, though not always. However, where it REALLY shines is outdoors and in the cafe type areas (Java Walley's at my school, RIT, comes to mind) where you can socialize, gather a group around, or whatever. In fact, I'm thinking of getting a el cheapo work laptop for this purpose. Getting out of the dorm room and away from instant access to the newest FPS can do a world of good. Overall, yay for wireless!
  • Re:Also of interest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kobayashi Maru (721006) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:39PM (#8877245)
    No. My school (Indiana University, numbero uno) uses mostly Cisco APs; I'm not aware of any Intel products at all, truth be told.
  • by Richard Mills (17522) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:44PM (#8877280)
    I'm a bit puzzled as where they came up with these numbers. I'm a grad student at William & Mary, which they placed in the top 50, and I find that wireless coverage is pretty spotty here. Meanwhile, at my undergrad alma mater U. Tenn, Knoxville, wireless access even covers a bunch of the *agriculture* campus, yet it doesn't make the list at all.

    No surprise -- makers of lists like these don't usually attempt to apply any scientific methodology.
  • Good of bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Standmic (769361) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:46PM (#8877294) Homepage
    My school (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) requires all undergraduates to have a laptop computer, supposedly for use in the classroom. After almost 4 years of this, I'm divided as to whether it is a benefit or just a distraction in class/waste of money (as opposed to buying a desktop)

    I have found that in class, all a laptop does is distract the students. Sure, we're supposed to follow along with the notes on our screens, but the prof can't see them. 90% of the time, everyone is surfing the web, talking on IM, checking their email, playing CS, basically everything but paying attention.

    Further, most classes don't even require/use a laptop (it's pretty tough to take linear algebra notes on a computer). I estimate that maybe only 20% of classes or less use laptops actually IN class.

    Most of the time when your laptop is required for class, it is just a pain to drag it to class, set it up, not use it for anything but to click through powerpoint slides. However, for the few professors who actually design the class with the use of the student's laptops in mind, it can be a great learning tool. It's nice doing in-class activities where you collect data and display it on your computer changing parameters to see the effect; or running simulations were you get to mess with the settings/initial conditions.

    On the whole, I wished I could have saved a grand or so and purchased a desktop that could do the same as my laptop (after all, it spends all but 4 hours a week just sitting on my desk). For the, mmm, maybe 2 classes that the professor has actually incorperated the use of laptop into his lecture (same professor for both classes), it was a very powerful tool. Unfortunately, professors who know how to lecture well, especially incorperating a personal computer, are few and far between. An Unwired (or Wired) classroom can either be a great benefit, or a waste of time.

  • by santos_douglas (633335) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:47PM (#8877297) Journal
    Most un-secure campus networks
  • Re:negative wording (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:49PM (#8877316) Homepage Journal
    My fiancee just read a newspaper article about this, and the article made it sound like it was a bad thing. Almost like the 'journalist' didn't read the actual report or understand the whole wireless concept.
  • by CatGrep (707480) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:58PM (#8877362)
    Oddly enough, even though Intel is into promoting WiFi, they don't seem to want to encourage WiFi on their own campuses as much as they might.

    I've heard that at Intel your manager has to get you permission to use WiFi and your department must pay some sort of ongoing fees to some other group for the priviledge.

  • by jstockdale (258118) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:09PM (#8877435) Homepage Journal
    and we use exclusively Cisco and 3 Com gear.

    I'm kinda surprised that we don't have a higher rating, since almost all the main areas of campus are covered, as well as roughly half the undergraduate dorms. It makes me wonder how they're doing their calculations. If it's total coverage / campus size or something silly like that then I could understand 68th (since we have a 8000+ acre campus) -- if they're using some sensible measure ... then I'm confused since our wireless network is really quite good.

    (and yes, I'm a student and Residential Network Admin here at Stanford)

    -S ...
  • Re:MIT = 26? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:14PM (#8877459)
    Here's a hint, for those that dont get it.

    Wireless access = pointless waste of my tuition money.

    Education programs are what get me those job interviews. Not Wireless access.
  • by siliconwafer (446697) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:14PM (#8877461)
    I've found, as a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, having a wireless campus has allows me to more easily waste my idle time surfing the web, chatting on IRC or AIM, etc., instead of browsing through class notes, or doing homework with a pencil and paper. A perfect example of this is our Crossroads Cafeteria. It's so easy for me to surf the web while eating lunch as a result of wired access, when I should be reviewing notes or spending my time otherwise. Perhaps it's self-discipline and not the wireless access that's the problem, but I've really found nothing good about it.
  • Re:MIT = 26? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:21PM (#8877496)
    " Wonderful what kind of technology they are teaching there? Obviously not wireless computers :P"

    Yeah, they actually teach students stuff there, rather than give them the latest toys to play with when they should be paying attention during lecture.
  • Re:Purdue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:26PM (#8877527)
    "If 10 years brings us as far as the last 10 has, i'm gonna be watching streaming HDTV on my cell phone."

    The Japanese already do. Granted, it's not streaming or HDTV... it's digital satellite direct to cell phones, and through repeaters in rural areas. 70 channels, though, and crystal clear.

    If the next 10 years brings us as far as the last ten, the big thing will be something you don't have a worse version of now. My expectation is that MIThril type systems [mit.edu] will be hot in ten years, and that the stuff we do with them will change the way we perceive things as much as cell phones have so far.

    In 1994, a man walking down the street talking to himself was clearly insane. Now he's just gadget savvy. Conversation can be anywhere, anytime... iPods and the like make music anywhere, anytime.... expect the same sort of thing for visual perception. In Duke3D cooperative, you could switch to see what your buddy was seeing and hearing (maybe it was Shadow Warrior). In 2014, you'll be able to do that in real life.

  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@@@comcast...net> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:29PM (#8877546) Journal
    I go to Montclair, the second largest University in NJ behind Rutgers, and our entire campus iis wireless and yet not even a 100th place.... Infact about half of NJ's schools are entirely wireless and only Cheaton Hall, a freaking private school, got a placement. something tells me this is a fix.
  • Re:Also of interest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fallen Kell (165468) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:29PM (#8877547)
    I agree that is an interesting point. Especially since Drexel University is only ranked 22nd and it was the 1st college to have a campus wide wireless network in the nation... You can walk from the dorms to class with your laptop on and continuously connected and that was 4 years ago.
  • Re:negative wording (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OldSchoolNapster (744443) <oldschoolnapster AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:35PM (#8877576)
    Unwired is a bad thing. At UTDallas we have wireless in almost every school building and in every on-campus apartment. We DON'T have ethernet in the apartments. We are a tech school, and you can just imagine what it's like [collegepublisher.com] when hundreds of tech students try to use the wireless network at the same time. I want wires! I can't even imagine why at least the new apartments don't have ethernet. Maybe it's a conspiracy to cut down on filesharing by making it nearly impossible to even access the internet.

    I don't want to theorize on why we didn't make the list, but my guess is it's cuz we didn't use Intel. Eat me Intel. AMD for life!
  • Re:2 from Indiana? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jugomugo (219955) <jugomugo.hotmail@com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:39PM (#8877595)
    Indiana has more tech than a lot of people realize.

    The Internet2/Abilene NOC is located in Indianapolis at IUPUI.
  • by n9fzx (128488) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:45PM (#8877635) Homepage Journal
    Through four years of undergrad (in EE and Math, Marquette) and eight years of grad school (EE, Stanford), I never took lecture notes. Not one. Ever. Used to drive some lecturers nuts at first, but then they realized that I was actively listening to them, and one of the few asking questions.

    Note taking is an evil distraction, that misleads you into the belief that you're actually getting something out of the lecture, while all you're really doing is taking dictation and not thinking about the bits passing from your ears to your hands. Once you get rid of the note taking crutch, you're forced into critical thinking -- that's how people actually learn.

  • by BobLenon (67838) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:48PM (#8877652) Homepage
    Hey! RIT made it (98) ... what are they thinking? I can barely access WIFI when sitting in the far side of a classroom (ie by exterior wall). This is in the BRAND NEW College of computing. BAH! RIT - welcome to the world of not really understanding technology :) (At least faculty/staff - ask _ANY_ student!)

    -dave
  • Re:Not very accurate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pimpinmonk (238443) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:50PM (#8877661) Homepage
    I agree that it's not very accurate. I was surprised to not see my school (Columbia University). We have wireless _EVERYWHERE_ except the rooms residence halls (it is in most lounges I believe). I mean, we have it in our entire quad, 802.11g in the library, the student center, and at least 802.11b in almost every main campus building.

    I think part of the discrepancy may be the shear size and layout of our campus--we are spread across many blocks of Manhattan where it's hard to get "full coverage" compared to, say, a completely enclosed campus. But they damn well try, and pretty much everywhere I would want to use wireless, I have a strong connection. So basically I question what this list really tells you. Please don't make your decision to go to school based on this list. If you really care about wireless take your laptop over and check it out for yourself.
  • Meaningless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:51PM (#8877668)
    This ranking really doesn't mean too much. It's judging based on quantity (of hotspots, students, etc.), not quality. I'm attending one of the schools in the top 5 and, let me tell you, I'd probably get better wireless access wardriving around than I do sitting in the middle of campus. Sure there may be a lot of base stations, but there aren't *enough* to cover the campus (there are plenty of unlucky people whose dorm rooms get only 5% signal strength at any given time). What APs there are, are often down, further reducing the network's utility.
  • DePaul (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:52PM (#8877678)
    I do not think they have done their homework very well. DePaul University in Chicago, for example, is not listed. They have the largest computer science department in the country; the computer science department and almost every student area are 100% wi-fi.

    Not to mention that all classrooms and prof. offices have distance learning capabilities. A student can use his remote connection, or wi-fi from any public area, and have a visual advising session with his/her favourite professor.

    I have never seen anything comparable in the other universities listed by INTEL.
  • Just a time waster! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:54PM (#8877690)
    I go to SUNY Geneseo (#25 on the list), and I just see the wireless access as a time waster. The few times I have actually brought my laptop to class, it's been more of a distraction than a tool. Coverage is mainly in the academic buildings and lounges, used with a laptop I purchased through the school (IBM TP R31 with 802.11b...thank god for the service contract, or I would be screwed!!) Not enough profs use the technology, and it just seems to be a gimmick to everyone except those outside of the campus.
  • narrow-minded jerk (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:11PM (#8877779)
    If you don't like Slashdot, you are free to go back to KuroShit. I, for one, don't want to hear you whine about something you are too narrow-minded to understand.

    I use wireless to download supplementary notes and study material, as well silently ask my friends in the classroom questions relating to the material.

    Its also useful for finding quiet places to study at the University. I can take my laptop to a silent place outside while I study and take more notes.
  • Re:2 from Indiana? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sean.geek.nz (735084) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:13PM (#8877794)
    I.U. Bloomington was so keen on providing good network access that the head of campus computing there (McRobbie) was personally sued by Metallica at the height of the Napster fuss back in 2000.

    His problem was that they'd figured out that Napster's inefficient P2P was jamming up their network, so in self-defence the IUB network guys advised Napster on how to be a bit more efficient (and download yr song from the frat boy in the next room, instead of from some geek in Japan). Good technical move, bit of a legal problem.
  • Re:Also of interest (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajayvb (657479) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:26PM (#8877896) Homepage
    This [cmu.edu] here talks about CMU's wireless initiative, one of the oldest in the country (started even before 802.11 was out).
    Security sucks though. No encryption, only MAC authentication for registered cards. Of course, all campus email, grade servers are encrypted (even our library requests are!). But you could just snoop anyone's yahoo mail off the air for example. Maybe they should have criteria like how secure the network is, in the criteria for judging as well.
  • Re:MIT = 26? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:26PM (#8877900)
    That message changes each time, here's the full list [mit.edu].
  • by crazyzemo (771764) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:32PM (#8877931)
    Doing tech support at NDSU in Fargo and working for the largest college (Engineering and Architecture) we have faced constant opposition to our setting up wireless access in the electrical engineering building, as it may not conform to the upcoming "campus standard". It's basically 5 of us in our small office vs. ITS (Information Technology Services), which does tech support for some of the other colleges and operates the campus LAN. ITS has been "planning" to do wireless all over campus for over 2 years, but it still is bogged down in committees. We managed to do a whole building in less than 2 weeks for $1000. By the looks of the comments we aren't the only university that has been in the "planning" stage for way too long.
  • by LoveShack (190582) <james@@@jameswilliams...me> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:43PM (#8877985)
    >>AKA "Which Schools Recommend Centrino"

    That's not entirely true. My school, at number 31, only recommends Cisco. They sell "University" laptops (at a "discount") with Centrino, but stick a Cisco card in them anyway. In fact, if you read the "official" documentation, you'd think that any non-Cisco cards wouldn't work at all.
  • Caltech (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kf6auf (719514) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:28PM (#8878166)

    So the problem with surveys is that they require people's time to respond. For example, when I was a frosh the Princeton Review or someone conducted an online survery and one of the questions was about workload/free time. Now, if you think about it there are likely to be some freaking brilliant people that will say that they have plenty of free time and the work load isn't hard. Meanwhile, the other 99% of us aren't bored enough to fill out the survery. As a result we were ranked really low on the workload that year. And believe me, this week was the first week I've ever had an easy problem set (it took only 3 hours).

    So back to the topic, where is my school? We have wireless in most of the lecture halls and some of the newer classrooms. It's not great but its good for simple browsing/IM/e-mail. From the way that you describe the wirelesss there, I would think that Caltech should be higher than "not on the list." There is none as of yet in the houses (not frats, campus owned dorms, but cooler) but that is because they are old Faraday cages that are going to be rebuilt so current wireless is student owned access points. So why the institute doesn't provide them, I can walk from one side of my house to the other and have access the whole time, switching from AP to AP.

    In other words, the wireless access here is good in my opinion and surveys are pretty crappy means of advertising.

    -Scott

  • by BalDown (460966) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:34AM (#8878496) Homepage
    I am a student and employee of the central networking department at Kansas State University (#47), and we are an exclusively Cisco shop on our end, and don't officially support (though they work) any vendor cards except for Cisco. So, to say that it's the schools that recommend Centrino is pretty bogus. Considering that we don't do anything like that... we'd be off the list. The way I see it, Intel did this purely from the standpoint that schools that are pushing forward with wireless technologies help their business in general, whether the universities recommend and/or use centrino or not.
  • Re:MIT = 26? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @01:23AM (#8878664)
    The reason MIT prob ranked as low as it did is that most of the dorms are quite old and have 10mbps wired networks. They are slowly sticking in 100 networks and wireless at the same time, but it's a slow process. Every lab, class, main building, gym, and frat however all have excellent wireless coverage.
  • Re:Dartmouth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theoddball (665938) <theoddball@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 16, 2004 @02:32AM (#8878864)
    Guaranteed signal? 100% of campus?

    Either you're a prof or you've gotten extremely lucky housing assignments. :) Two years, three rooms, and lousy, lousy wireless reception in all of them. Also, key places like the 4th floor of Berry (main library) have big holes.

    We do have an assload of APs, though, and a lot of ground covered in theory. Probably makes for a strong ranking.

    Of course, our wireless network is COMPLETELY unsecure here, too...as in, no WEP, no nothing. You know the SSID, you're on the network, and all traffic is out in the open.

    Needless to say, I use SSH a lot...
  • ... and I asked him about this very same topic. Funny, because he said "Have you seen the Intel article about the most wired college campuses?" Of course, I hadn't at the time and forgot to look it up. Then, bam, on Slashdot two days later.

    I asked him to compare our setup and implementation to our peer universitites and he basically said that we were right at the top. We've had full coverage on campus for three semesters (counting back including this one). Before that they rolled it out over three semesters. So, it's been on campus for about 3 yrs now. Kinda cool.

    When ITAP (the IT services dept) decided to do it, they actually rolled together three other independant implementations from the School of Mgmt and a couple of other places. In addition to full campus coverage, now we even have wireless access at our footbal stadium (with a ton of money donated by Cisco and other companies) that can be used to access stats, etc. during the game - mostly from PDAs.

    Funniest part of the story from the VP of IT was that when he told us that IU was number 1 on the list. Apparently, after Purdue had rolled out wireless across the campus (or was partly through implementation), IU called and asked how they did it and copied the setup. He said that they beat us on 'green space'. IU's physical campus is spread out over a larger area than Purdue's. IU covered the green space and nudged us out.

  • by a20vertigo (263583) on Friday April 16, 2004 @03:00AM (#8878951)
    ... has most of it's main campus wired for wireless, but requires a proprietary Windows-only client to login to it. So at first glance it seems alrightish, but upon closer examination, sucks the llama's ass.
  • Re:2 from Indiana? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kanwisch (202654) on Friday April 16, 2004 @07:56AM (#8879921)
    I have lectured in Purdue classes, and CowboyNeal's comment about the access providing a way to not pay attention is true. During the classes I've given presentations, at least 10% of the students were playing games or surfing while I spoke.

    Perhaps that's a side-effect of going unwired, but I think its a challenge to be a more interesting speaker.
  • Geneseo's Wireless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr-Fish (121793) <mark-slashdot.valites@net> on Friday April 16, 2004 @09:36AM (#8880745) Homepage
    I work full time in the IT department at Geneseo. We've pushed out a lot of wireless, but there's always demand for more. Wireless is like crack here... Even one of our bars has two APs in it!!

    While we don't rank as high on it, Forbes also has a Wireless Ranking [forbes.com]
  • by the morgawr (670303) on Friday April 16, 2004 @09:39AM (#8880781) Homepage Journal
    Read the fine print at the bottom. The results are based on the NUMBER of hotspots, the NUMBER of students, and the NUMBER of computers. This biases the study against smaller schools.

    For example Kettering University [kettering.edu], a small engineering school (interesting, we graduate more engineers than any other University, and 1 out of 5 graduates becomes a business owner or fortune 500 exec, but that's a side point) which has great, almost 100% coverage (I live two blocks away and get signal) isn't on the list because it's are so small (there are 5 buildings on campus).

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