BUCKHANNON – When they return in August for the Fall 2021 Semester, West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) students will be greeted with increased internet speeds and connectivity thanks to investments made to overhaul and improve network equipment in all of the College’s residence halls. These investments are part of the College’s ‘Connect to the Future’ effort to increase and improve on-campus connectivity.
“We are upgrading to more modern equipment to give better speeds to the students,” WVWC Director of Information Technology Neil Roth said. “It will be a better experience here than what they have had in the past.”
The new access points, which are being installed by Computing Services and the Physical Plant, are necessary to realize previous upgrades completed from last year that increased bandwidth and network speeds.
“We weren’t seeing full utilization of what we had because access points were too old,” Roth said. “For the students this will be a major upgrade to them as far as getting better connectivity.”
The current access points were meant to handle the one or two devices that students would bring with them to campus, a computer and a phone. Today’s students arrive on campus with laptops, cell phones, gaming consoles, Smart TVs, tablets, Smart watches and more.
“We look at probably six or seven devices per student now,” Roth said.
Funding for the project came from the President’s Capital Fund at the College. A committee, which included student representatives, chose the new access points as one of the projects to be funded this year.
The students prioritized better connectivity in the residence halls as a needed project, according to Roth.
“Students utilize the internet services in every facet of their lives,” he said. “It is very crucial to everything they do. It’s an integral part of their life now and we want to provide the best experience for them because we value our students.”
While this round of the ‘Connect to the Future’ upgrades is centered on residence halls, next year’s plan calls for access points to be replaced in administrative buildings. The third phase of the project will involve replacing fiber optic cable throughout the rest of campus.
“We chose to upgrade the residence halls first because we value our students and we want to give them the best experience,” Roth said. “They do a lot of their research work online and over the last year, they have had to take online classes from their rooms.”
Roth said, depending on scheduling, the new access points should all be installed by the start of the fall semester.