Wi-Fi Access at Rio Rancho Campus Ramps Up; Faster Connections Coming Soon to Rest of CNM
CNM’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) has switched out 17 outdated and slow wireless access points – boxes with radios running on various frequencies placed at ceiling-level – and have replaced them with faster, more advanced ones that has brought wireless transmission at the campus into the fast lane of 21st century technology.
The Rio Rancho Campus was the first phase of a major project to turbo-charge Wi-Fi throughout CNM.
“We are starting with Rio Rancho because it is a single building and has a small number of access points,” said Ken Cole, CNM Director of IT Infrastructure. “Once we are sure we have a good solution, we will replace all the access points at the other CNM campuses.”
CNM currently has a total of almost 800 access points. Many, said Cole, “are very old and only support older protocols. They are long overdue for replacement.” He anticipates there will be enough money to replace all eight hundred and add a couple hundred more to provide better coverage in classrooms and meeting areas.
The new wireless networks will support new industry standards (802.11a,b,g,n and even the new “ac” standard) allowing for faster connection speeds and support for more simultaneous connections.
After all the old access points have been replaced, Cole said IT will analyze the coverage areas to pinpoint the most popular spots for wireless access. Once these are installed, people will be able to use their wireless devices almost anywhere on a CNM campus.
In addition, the new systems will be able to track how the wireless systems are being used – helping IT to plan for future network growth. In locations of high usage, IT officials will be able to determine if more access points need to be installed.
Cole said he is excited about the project. “It’s fun for us to do something like this that is going to have a significant impact on our students’ ability to get work done.”
The next buildings to receive the Wi-Fi upgrades will be the Student Resources Center and Max Salazar Hall in April. The bulk of the upgrades will be completed by the end of 2014.