UNK Going Wireless

Kyle Petersen
Student Staff Writer

Campuses that used to proclaim they were “wired,” are finding themselves behind the times. Being “wired” is not only old-fashioned, students consider it cumbersome.

Laptops free students to use their computers anywhere, which makes wireless Internet access essential to mobile students who want to log-on to the Web whether they are in their residence halls, in the classroom or putting the finishing touches on an assignment between classes.

As a result, Information Technology Services (ITS) is working to make UNK a wireless campus, and the recent Board of Regents approval of $394,500 to extend the wireless network throughout seven residence halls brings the campus another step closer.

Deb Schroeder, assistant vice chancellor of ITS, said that UNK decided to invest in wireless Internet access as a way to attract students.

“ The reason we chose to go the wireless route is because of what we call the ‘Net Generation’ students,” Schroeder said. Net Generation students were born after 1980, and they don’t remember life without computers, much like generations before don’t remember life without electricity.

“ People born in this generation expect their university toprovide wireless service,” she said.

To meet the standards set by this new generation, UNK has implemented two wireless networks—UNKWireless, which is available to students, and UNKEmployees, a network specifically for UNK faculty and staff.

“ When UNK employees connect to wireless Internet, they should make sure their laptops are set-up to connect to the UNKEmployees system, the secure wireless network,” she said.

Instructions on how to comply with the recommended security measures are available by going to: www.unk.edu /offices/its and clicking on the “ Services for Faculty” link on the left side of the screen.

“ We are testing a secured network for students and will be switching students to a secured network within the next year,” Schroeder said.

The unsecured student network only allows Internet access through a Web browser, so students connected to the current network are not susceptible to malevolent hackers or viruses, as long as they do not send confidential information while on a site without a security certificate, which can be determined by looking at the URL address. Web addresses beginning with “https” are secure sites.

Don’t expect wired connections to completely fade away though, Schroeder said, adding that big downloads are better suited for wired networks.

Currently, seven buildings on campus—the College of Education Building, Founders Hall, Cushing, Ockinga Seminar Center, Otto Olsen, Thomas Hall and West Center—offer wireless connections throughout the structure.

Buildings with wireless access zones include Bruner Hall, Cope Stadium, Communications Center, Copeland Hall, Calvin T. Ryan Library, Fine Arts Building, Health and Sports Center, Memorial Student Affairs Building, Nebraskan Student Union, University Residence North, University Residence South and Welch Hall. All UNK residence halls feature wireless connections in the lounges.