Over the last few years, there has been a rapid shift in wireless network technology in both speed and reliability on the Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) campus. An impact of this shift has been how students access DCB's network in the residence halls. For the first time, nearly all students are using a wireless connection as opposed to plugging into a network jack in their rooms. An additional impact is that students use more devices with the wireless connection; they include laptops, phones, game consoles, and tablets.
These factors required DCB to focus on improving the wireless infrastructure on the residence hall network to better accommodate students' technology needs. A major issue was older wiring connecting to hall access points. As the speed of the access points improved from 56 megabytes per second to 300 or 400 megabytes per second, a bottleneck was occurring that needed to be addressed promptly. To address the issue, all buildings had their network cables and switches replaced. The older hardware simply didn't have the bandwidth capabilities needed to deliver quality internet access to our students.
To further improve the wireless network in the halls, more wireless access points and a wireless controller were added. The wireless controller directs and controls the access point signals to more effectively provide wireless coverage. The additional access points were placed in better locations to provide the best coverage possible. The buildings are constructed of concrete and wire mesh, both of which have a tendency to reduce or block radio signals; so, the project proved to be challenging. The DCB residence hall network is now robust and connectivity and speed issues continue to be monitored to help insure students' communication needs are being met.