by Karly Sacco and Tatanisha Wooley

Photo credit: Sara Haque
Photo credit: Sara Haque

Benedictine University will be able to experience wireless WIFI on campus in the near future. The current WIFI at BenU has been a major problem and concern for those who use it.
Benedictine University’s Student Senate has been working behind the scenes for the past few years to provide a solution to the WIFI problem, with hundreds of surveys collected from students over the years for their desire to have WIFI in the dormitories and apartments.

“This is a triumph to our team. We have heard your concerns and want to provide what’s best for them. We encourage students to come to us and we will ensure their voices are heard,” said President of Student Senate, Joe Ward.

“Starting in Winter 2015, IT specialist, Randy Williams, along with student senate came up with a game plan to provide better WIFI for the campus. They built a proposal to bring to Dr. Carroll, Dr. Taylor, and Charlie Gregory. There was also a committee, which consist of student senate and Randy Williams and Residence Life, to meet with various possible Internet providers. After meeting with various Internet services, Comcast was the chosen Internet provider. Comcast was chosen because it was the best fit as it was already in the dorms and apartments; it also has the highest speed.”

“Rodney Fowlkes kept pushing for the WIFI to be installed in the dorms. The proposal was brought to the New Provost and upper administration that were very supportive of the plan. The current WIFI would be removed from all the residence halls and apartments but will remained in the academic buildings. Since the WIFI will be removed the current WIFI should speed up since less people will be using it,” said Ward.
The process of installing the service has already begun.

“The first steps to transition to a new WiFi started with the contract. Once everyone agreed on the contract we’re now at the home plate and we will start building up the infrastructure,” said Chief Information Officer at BenU, Rodney Fowlkes.

Benedictine has plans on when they will start the construction portion of the instillation process.
“The middle of March is our target to start the first dorms, and this is assuming Mother Nature will not be giving us more 18-20 inch snow days on us,” said Fowlkes.This process can take longer than anticipated.

“There is not end date, we don’t really know how long it will take. As soon as possible is the date,” said Fowlkes.

One building after another will have the services installed by Comcast.

“It was predetermined that Ondrak was the first building to have the services installed, because at the time that we started negotiations with the contract, Ondrak was empty so it was easier to get in,” said Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development, Joan Henehan.

The second of areas that will get the new services put in are the Founders’ Woods apartments.
“It seemed to make sense to do the apartments second because they are going to be the least difficult,” said Henehan.

There is a method behind the order in which the cables will be connected.
“The idea from the Student Senate standpoint is; let’s get the cable in the rooms of as many people as fast as possible. So the apartments are going to be fast,” said Henehan.

Some buildings on campus are older than others, which adds to the order of the instillation.
“Jaeger Hall is going to the most difficult because the way that it is built. So going to install in Neuzil before Jager just made sense,” said Henehan.

Benedictine University has recently been under construction with their new business building being built, but the WIFI instillation will not be as big of an inconvenience.

“The construction will be minimal. It will just be like if the cable guy was coming to your house. A resident will just have to be there at the time so that you can get your login and they can show you how to set everything up,” said Fowlkes.

“Comcast will run a fiber optics cable from the street, into our main cutoff point within Kindlon Hall. That will give us fiber optics so that we can get the speed to get to the different dorms,” said Fowlkes.
Students will each be equipped with their own username and password that they will be set up through Comcast.

This information will be needed in order for the student to buy pay per view movies. Buying anything off pay per view will come out of the individual student’s wallet.

“Consider us the base cable service, but say if you want to watch a fight or a concert you would have to pay extra for any additional services,” said Fowlkes. “You would set it up with your account, you can either pay online, by credit card, and probably once they get you set up you can pay through your TV.”
There have not been many challenges as the process of the construction begins.
“The ground work was laid out for while for this to happen,” said Henehan.
“This is something that not only has Student Senate, but Residents Life and Student Life has been fighting for, so they’ve had the ear of administration,” said Henehan.
“They knew last year that they were going to commit to it this year, so I think that made things a little bit smoother.”

For incoming students, they will be introduced and learn what the services are.
“We will probably have some sort of orientation to introduce the students to different services that they will now have and how to use all the different things that will have,” said Fowlkes.