Wireless Internet arrives

Nate Billings

Books are wireless, but so are many computers.

Wireless computer accesses are coming to Missouri Southern.

Steve Earney, assistant vice president for information services, said several buildings on campus will receive wireless Internet access within the next few weeks.

“It’s really just a new service for students,” Earney said.

He said the addition of Internet access would allow students to use more computers on the campus server than there are access points available now.

Spiva Library will be the first building to receive the wireless access.

“It makes sense logically for research purposes,” said Wendy McGrane, library director.

Earney said there will be a trial-and-error period during the installation and he expects it to be a learning process.

“We’ll put as many (access points) as it takes to make it work,” he said.

Earney said the library will have issues with the bookshelves which may block the signals from certain areas of the building at first.

The system has been several years in the works. Both Earney and McGrane said they have had students request the service before.

Approval for the service came just last week with a $175,000 budget for equipment and installation.

“It was a shock to me,” Earney said.

He had been working on the project for some time, but did not know the approval was going to come as soon as it did.

The Billingsly Student Center and the Student Life Center will be the next buildings on the list to receive access, then the older residence halls. East Hall will be last of the buildings because there are enough wired ports for Internet access in the hall for every student living there.

Earney said wireless ports will be placed in as many spots as possible while the budget lasts. Then, next year, the rest of the campus will have ports added to it.

“It’s not really an exact science,” Earney said.

Earney said he could not be sure of the specifics of the total installation because the access ports are new and the range has yet to be determined.

Each port should allow students wireless access for more than 300 ft but are dependent on the conditions of their position.

In order for a student to use his or her wireless computer, the student must register the computer’s wireless chip’s access identification number with the computer lab or library. Earney said a register will be available soon after the installation in the library is complete.

“It’s really not a list to exclude the academically related things, just a list to exclude the non-academic things,” he said.

McGrane said the library would be in cooperation with any regulations and registrations which will be required for the access.

Registration will be open to students and faculty, as well as speakers and anyone invited to speak or proctor an event.

Earney said it might be possible for community members to register, but he is not certain yet.

He also reminded students to be careful of a current outbreak of computer viruses which have hit several computers in the residence halls. Students should make sure their computers are off or not connected to the Internet when the students are not working on the computers.

Students who keep their computers connected may become infected or spread a virus.

“You’re (students) not being a good citizen,” Earney said.

Free virus protection software is available in the computer center in Matthews Hall.