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Wireless Networking Education Hardware

Intel Ranks Colleges with Best Wireless Access 526

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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  • Also of interest (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bobdoer ( 727516 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:32PM (#8877178) Homepage Journal
    Are the Most Unwired Airports [] and Most Unwired Cities [] lists.
    Also, do these lists just count wireless access points that Centrino supports? It almost sounds like some sort of propaganda...
  • Re:2 from Indiana? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:47PM (#8877305)
    Boy, you better learn yourself some comp sci history. Perhaps you've heard of this guy here [].
  • by adamb0mb ( 68142 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:52PM (#8877330) Homepage Journal
    Actually, at the U of I, almost every building on campus has Wireless Access Points. The only buildings that don't have WAPs are the dorms, because there are 11293840982734 jacks in the building anyways.

    If U of I is only #33, I'd really like to see how good these other schools are. There is nothing like taking your laptop out on the lawn, and check your email and stuff.
  • Purdue's wi-fi (Score:2, Informative)

    by dodongo ( 412749 ) <chucksmith@alumn ... u ['e.e' in gap]> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:52PM (#8877333) Homepage
    Yeah, I have to say, Purdue's WiFi, affectionately known as AirLink [], is pretty cool beans. It was my motivation for purchasing a cheap laptop and putting off upgrading the desktop another year or so.

    As long as I shut the damn thing off when I'm in class, it isn't too distracting. It's so fantastic to be able to get a burrito or whatever in the Union, sit, catch up on email, do research (with the IPs it's easy to get into the library's [] online journals and stuff), listen to Air America Radio's [] stream, and so on.

    If it hasn't made me more productive, I feel more productive, at least. And perception of functionality always trumps actual functionality!
  • by bishiraver ( 707931 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:55PM (#8877347) Homepage
    I was afraid I would succumb to the same temptations, so I keep myself in terminal mode (out of X) while in class. I take my notes in nano. If we had wireless access, I think I'd pop into a special school desktop with office products and mozilla firebird at easy access, so I could do a little research during class and back up notes with anecdotal urls.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @09:59PM (#8877370)
    If you are interested in some statistics for the Purdue wireless network: []

    For more general information: []
  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8877381)
    I attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which has an atrocious track record on networking issues.

    Our Network Services department, despite repeated requests from faculty and students, has not set up any sort of wireless coverage anywhere on campus. They also prohibit faculty and students from setting up their own wireless equipment, whether or not it is connected to their network. I am not permitted to put a wireless NIC in my desktop and have it talk to my laptop, even if neither machine is on the campus network.

    (I figure that since I'm allowed to use a cordless telephone operating in the 2.4GHz band, Network Services has no right to dictate what other signals I generate in that band.)

    Any Slashdotters who are pondering attending this university should think carefully about whether they are willing to accept the complete lack of wireless and consistent 15-25% packet loss on the dormitory connections. (People use dialup because it's more reliable.)

    In contrast, a friend of mine in Washington University Law School frequently IM's me from class lamenting how boring class is. (How someone can be bored with a computer (with 3d card) and network access in front of them is left as an exercise to the reader.)
  • University of Texas (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:03PM (#8877395)
    Coverage here at the University of Texas at Austin is very good; everywhere I have gone has wireless access. Except, of course, my dorm room where I have to pay $20/mo for "ResNet" that is frequently down. Everywhere I have been outside of dorm rooms is covered by at least 1 access point, usually several. Also, Austin was ranked well for wireless cities with so many restaurants/stores/public places offering free WiFi that is understandable. I recently drove from a restaurant back to campus with my laptop open and it counted over 300 access points in a 10 minute, 5 mile ride (yes, roads suck in Austin). I know the University is planning on selling wireless access to non-university affiliates in addition to the already franchised students, staff, and faculty, so that will make it easy for visitors to campus to enjoy the wireless, though they might as well bum off of the many cafes around campus for free instead.
  • Re:2 from Indiana? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:04PM (#8877398)
    Nope, never heard of him. But Purdue has the first computer science program in the nation []. Maybe the name "Spaf" [] rings a bell too?
  • by rune.w ( 720113 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:05PM (#8877405)

    Here were I study [] in Germany we've got hotspots in almost every classroom and pretty much everybody has a laptop. This is because of the payment facilities given by the Uni (granted, they get sucky models and prices are not so cheap, but I won't get into this or I'll never end this post). Unfortunately few people really use their laptop in class for taking notes. Almost everybody else is using IM/surfing the net/watching movies (!!) during class. Regardless, using your laptop during a boring lecture is much better than falling asleep, IMHO.

    Still, I'd be curious to know in which place on the list my university would end up.


  • Pointless (Score:5, Informative)

    by clinko ( 232501 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:06PM (#8877413) Journal
    This is pointless, #29 is LSU, where I went. I setup the wireless there. Yes, I, 1 person. It was 2 airports in the library.
  • by Domino ( 12558 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:14PM (#8877460) Homepage
    I really don't see how you could improve Carnegie Mellon's wireless network. I have never been anywhere on campus where I couldn't get a strong signal. There are even power outlets everywhere - even outside - for the "weak-batteried". Bringing your laptop to class is as normal as bringing a pencil. Check out CMUSky [], it gives great statistics about Andrew in real-time.
  • Not very accurate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Belgand ( 14099 ) <> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:17PM (#8877475) Homepage
    I got to Kansas State (#47 on the list incidentally) and the only reason I looked at the site was to see if my school even made it and if so, question the integrity of the list.

    K-State technically has wireless in some buildings, but not many. Yes, the library and union have wireless as do a few others, but that's where it ends. The biology and physics buildings both lack it entirely, as does the main building for the college of arts and sciences and only a large lecture hall in one of the main engineering buildings is listed as having it. Since it was installed I might have taken one or two courses that would have made it available to me. I don't have a wireless laptop myself (although my girlfriend does and I've been interested in how good the coverage is), but I doubt you'd be able to get online from anywhere outside on campus at all.

    Essentially this is something they did about 2 years ago and then more or less have ignored ever since. The website for it lists that more locations will be coming, but in that time none ever have. IT out here is a joke though. Bandwidth in the dorms was so bad (i.e. >2k/sec) a few years back that almost every single student living in them had to sign a petition about it before we barely got some degree of improvement (up to maybe 10-20k/sec). The IT staff is frequently unreachable having locked themselves off in the library basement and rarely if ever respond to e-mail.

    The presence of K-State on that list seems to indicate that the list compilers merely looked over webpages and cataloged the number of areas listed without any regard for the actual coverage provided.
  • Wireless Security (Score:2, Informative)

    by ttyp0 ( 33384 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:41PM (#8877608) Homepage
    Indiana University may be ranked #1, it must be said that Purdue (#2) has secured their wireless. Last I checked IU uses WEP. Purdue uses a VPN-secured connection where all of the wireless traffic is encrypted using 168-bit 3DES, as compared to the 128-bit or even 40-bit encryption offered by WEP.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:05PM (#8877738)
    It took longer than I would've liked, but we have wireless on-site. Intel is overly cautious of the security of using wireless. Now that we have it, it sure is nice to be untethered. No more spaghetti cables on conference tables. I was surprised the Centrino in my T40 got such better reception than my Linksys card at home. And, yes, the dept pays a fee, but that's just bookkeeping.
  • Re:Not very accurate (Score:3, Informative)

    by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:28PM (#8877908) Homepage
    Actually the coverage is pretty good at KSU. Nichols of course has it, and the engineering complex is laced with points. Of course, I find it ludicrous that anyone would actually.

    Also, I don't remember signing a petition, but I do remember how on campus students were nearly monopolizing the internet pipe, such that the line was plateauing from 8 am to 8 pm. Since the implementation of p2p filtration this issue has largely vacated, and downloading from ocremix or debian updates typically move at 300 kpbs.

    The IT staff in the basement are mostly concerned with the mainframes and the central router. The kind of people you want to talk with are upstairs, in ITAC or the head of CNS (or maybe resnet).
  • by nemomty ( 344308 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:28PM (#8877911) Homepage
    I graduated from the ITESM (Monterrey Campus, in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico) []. The amount of money spent in technology here is mind boggling.
    For starters, the ITESM, has been part of Internet2 for years (about two or three). Has had high speed wired networks everywhere but the restrooms for ages. They have been requiring laptops for every undergraduate since 97 (if you couldn't afford one, the school financed it). And has had wireless networks since 2000. Right now, you can have acces to 802.11a, b or c anywhere in school (yes, including restrooms, dont ask me how I know :))
    Most exchange students from the US or Europe are always surprised of this (Even Kevin Mitnick, to whom I had the opportunity to meet him at a conference here at school, and actually had a chat with him about this same topic).
    Most classes are now what they call "redesigned" to be accessible trough the web or before that, using Lotus Notes. They even built a new 15 million dollar hall, which is called CIAP (International Center for Learning for its initials in spanish.) and almost every class is dictated in english with videocameras recording every class so everyone can check them out later on the web (Still in experimental stages).
    I think that in many aspects, catching up is almost always better, since you can learn from other's mistakes and benefit from newer a better technologies, like the ones we've been enjoying here at the ITESM, in a little undeveloped country called Mexico.
  • Re:Pointless (Score:2, Informative)

    by douthat ( 568842 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:29PM (#8877913)
    You must have went to LSU a while back, then. The campus is almost totally saturated now. The Union, almost every building in the quad (you can get access from anywhere in the quad with a powerbook), the law school, CEBA, the chemistry building, etc...

    Yes, you may not be able to get it in the music building... but its only 75 yards from Highland Coffe, which also has wi-fi. Not on the South side of campus? then go to CC's Coffee in the law building or just past the North Gates.
  • by qweqazfoo ( 765286 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:31PM (#8877927)
    I work at UT. The wireless network their is a joke.

    All the machines are on public IPs and there is no sort of virus scanning or update requirements at all. We accidentally put a fresh Windows install on the wireless network and got hit with a worm in 30 seconds. The network nazis, under orders of our joke of a security office, often filter DHCP addresses because of viruses, which is great until you accidentally get the lease for a filtered address.

    UT just finally figured out that maybe they should offer SSL POP and IMAP on the central mailserver after having kids on unencrypted wireless for 3 years. VPNs are just now being looked at.

    The worst thing about wireless at UT is it's so inconsistent. There aren't nearly enough APs in highly populated areas, meaning you get dialup speeds are not uncommon. There are dead spots everywhere because of poor AP placement.

    We were doing a voice over wireless IP pilot, and it was impossible. Each building is on it's own VLAN and they don't route to each other. Some wireless systems are maintained by departments and you can't even log into them. We could communicate in our building, but the building across the street was blind. Even getting the phones to work, with UTs homebrewed authentication system, was a beast.

  • by abnormal ( 165012 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:35PM (#8877946) Homepage
    Of course they don't... The whole purpose of this 'study' by Intel is to encourage schools to buy up their products. It's a marketing ploy so schools can proudly declared themselves "Most Unwired".

  • Re:Also of interest (Score:3, Informative)

    by Masami Eiri ( 617825 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vaw.niarb'> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @11:50PM (#8878018) Journal
    Oh man, I'm stifling laughter so much right now... I'm surprised it even ranked 22... I was expecting to see it, but maybe in the 30s or 40s...

    Have you tried to use Dragonfly (Drexel's wireless network)? Coverage is spotty as hell. Maybe if you're outside you can keep a stable connection, but I know I don't walk with my laptop out... get run over by one of those damn landscaping trucks driving through the quad.
    I had 1 lecture where I could access the network, and that was in the CS building. My dorm I could get a weak connection, but it would drop randomly.
    Overall, its good as a backup for the wired network, but its not good on its own.

    Oh, its all Onorico equipment, btw.
  • Re:Wireless Security (Score:2, Informative)

    by untouchable ( 615727 ) <> on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:07AM (#8878094) Journal
    I don't know when the last you checked IU's wireless network, but you cannot connect wirelessly using WEP. You have to use VPN to connect. I'm not sure with what encryption, but I do know it's VPN. Do try again, though ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:07AM (#8878100)
    I'm a contractor at Intel. Yes there is a bit of red-tape to go through to get WiFi. I'd guess that maybe half of the people with issued laptops have Wifi and the rest still use cables.

    I haven't been issued one of those new Centrino laptops yet (and probably won't be since I'm a contractor). I keep thinking about bringing in my Powerbook 17" and attending one of the ubiquitious meetings that Intel has. I wonder how long it would take for anyone to notice ;-) If they could get over their prejudice against anyting non-Intel, I suspect a lot of the people would be envious since the Powerbooks are so much nicer than what they're stuck with.... Ah, but alas, Intel doesn't seem like a 'think different' sort of place in my experience. It's more like a "let's all ignore the fact that anything else exists" sort of place.
  • I'm not proud but... (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Ape With No Name ( 213531 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:30AM (#8878171) Homepage
    This is bullshit. UTK [] has 130 buildings covered and is converting to full 802.11(bag) coverage in the summer, with a outdoor network to come real soon now. 1310 access points with over 8500 unique users. Hell, even the friggin Creamery on the Ag Campus has 4 APs. Bossy is fraggin' as I type. I imagine that all of the schools listed have bought some Intel product to qualify. We don't use their stuff so....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:35AM (#8878196)
    Sounds like a problem with your equipment; a couple of my friends were able to pick up a signal from GCCIS all the way from Riverknoll. (For the non-RITers: an apartment complex near the comp sci building.)
  • by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @01:50AM (#8878553) Homepage Journal
    I go to gaTech currently which is #100 on that list which I guess is alright. We have a number of buildings wired, all of which are where my classes are, including some of the reasearch buildings the bookstore the starbucks in the bookstore, and more of the eateries that are near the above mentioned research building.

    What I tend to use wireless for in class is runing experiments for class projects where I can communicate with other group members during class via AIM, additionally in another class I use it to do the individual projects, the use of the wireless here is that I run CVS on my desktop computer, and need access to it when I'm in class. It's a nice little system. As for my other class I usually just do work for the two previous classes in it and not really pay attention
  • Re:Wireless Security (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheProcrastinatorTM ( 539571 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @03:38AM (#8878891) Homepage
    I don't know why the accurate post is at 1 and the inaccurate post is at +5 Informative, but hey :) And in case you were wondering, indeed we have no WEP but we do have VPN: IU Knowledge Base article on setting up wirless network access []. The CS dept. does have WEP for faculty, staff, and grad students though, so perhaps this is where the misunderstanding came from.
  • Airports? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hwestiii ( 11787 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @07:39AM (#8879593) Homepage
    I'd like to know on what basis they state that the airports are unwired.

    I travel in and out of O'Hare regularly, and I'm not aware of any wireless service available to the unwashed. Perhaps wireless is available in the airline club lounges, but that hardly counts as "airport" access.

    By contrast, I was in KC Mo last month, a much smaller airport than O'Hare, though with a very cool design in my opinion, and their wireless access was both publicly available, and clearly announced on their PA screens.
  • Re:2 from Indiana? (Score:3, Informative)

    by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @09:00AM (#8879941) Homepage
    Indiana has tech. We have some excellent schools for teaching tech. As soon as a resident gets their degree, almost all immediately jump ship to another state for a job. What Indiana doesn't have is tech jobs. Year old article here []

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus