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Campus Wi-Fi Upgrade
Author: Izabella Warner - Office of Information Technology
Posted: January 29, 2014

Office of Information Technology’s (OIT’s) Networking Team and Telecommunication Systems teams are wrapping up the final stages of the campus Wi-Fi system upgrade.  The upgrade, which began in June 2013 has focused on the introduction of new controllers and Access Points (APs) throughout common areas and classrooms across PSU, but did not include campus residential housing facilities.  During that time, more than 350 older APs have been upgraded to the newer 802.11n Wi-Fi standard which is capable of client connections up to 5 times faster than the previous version.

Between 2010 and 2012, Portland State University saw an incredible growth in the number of devices connecting to the university’s wireless network, and a massive increase in the amount of bandwidth that these devices consume. At the beginning of 2013, the wireless network consisted of approximately 750 APs and several centralized wireless controllers, all installed over the last 10 years. The hardware had trouble handling the rapid increase in the number and density of wireless devices on campus.  

In June of 2013, work began to upgrade, expand, and redesign the campus wireless network, with the objectives of improving network stability and resilience to hardware/software failure, along with increasing client capacity and throughput. During this project, the Networking Operations team upgraded the switches that provide power over Ethernet, while the Telecommunications team installed additional cabling; the two teams worked together to design and place the APs around campus. The completion of this project will see the number of APs across campus increase to over 1400.

“This new controller-based infrastructure will provide much greater accessibility and bandwidth for wireless users, as well as increased reliability. It also provides robust management capabilities, troubleshooting of client connections, and performance information.” - Dan Walsh, Acting Director for Networking and Telecommunications.

Although the major stages of the upgrade have been completed, the process of repositioning and deploying additional APs in classrooms in buildings across the campus will be ongoing.

Upgrade to the wireless network means greater accessibility and bandwidth, along with increased reliability and convenience for those studying, working, or on visiting on campus.

For more information on setting up and managing your Wi-Fi preferences on campus, visit pdx.edu/oit/wi-fi