Newly installed wireless Internet allows students in all main-campus dorms to surf the Net, no strings attached.The Student Government Association passed a bill last semester, allocating $7,500 to the installation of wireless Internet, said former House Rep. Justin Brown.
Bill Senter, manager of Technical Services, said the university paid an additional $2,700 to cover what SGA could not.
Brown, who helped write the bill, said he noticed a need for wireless access before he was enrolled at TCU.
“When I first was given a tour at TCU, they advertised a greater wireless network than what existed and I wanted to help facilitate their claim,” he said. “I think it can be a great selling point for recruitment.”
Austin Uebele, Permanent Improvements chairman, said wireless Internet had been too limited in the past.
“The university does not have many areas that are conducive to studying wirelessly outside of the library, that is why we felt the need to have wireless (Internet) installed in many of the residence halls,” he said.
Patrick Washington, a freshman prebusiness major, said he thinks wireless Internet would allow him to study in the lobby but does not think he will take advantage of it.
“I have trouble studying in my room because all my roommates do is watch TV and play video games and it gets distracting,” he said. “Now that there’s Internet in the lobby, I could study there without going to the library, but I don’t think I will ever use it.”
One of the main advantages in having wireless access in the 24-hour dorm lobbies is that male and female students now have a place to work on group projects, Brown said.
“Male and female students have a new way they can work on assignments and research together,” he said.
Senter said disadvantages do come along with the convenience of wireless Internet.
Connection speed is divided among the users and can therefore run slower as more people log on, he said.
Wireless connection is less secure than wired connection, but TCU has rigged the system so that only those who are registered with TCU’s web server can log on, Senter said.
Senter said the 11 residence halls that received wireless Internet is just the beginning.
“The university is in the middle of a four-year plan to install wireless across campus,” he said. “All TCU buildings will have wireless coverage by 2008.”
Brown said only the lounges in main-campus dorms received wireless Internet because it would cost nearly $100,000 to increase the access to all dorm lounges. Progress will continue, he said, as TCU’s wireless plan expands.
“All new dorms and buildings will be equipped with the progressive wireless networks needed to keep up with changing technologies and bandwidth,” he said.