Following on the heels of the recently-completed ResNet Wi-Fi Upgrade, ITS Communication Technologies is now beginning a 42-month project to provide pervasive Wi-Fi coverage within all remaining campus buildings. Inasmuch as less than 35% of campus within-building space presently has appropriate Wi-Fi coverage, this will be a significant effort involving new cabling throughout most buildings – yes, wireless needs wires – in addition to the deployment of over 4000 new access points.

The first phase of this project is to replace the nearly 1000 remaining Cisco legacy access points with newer Aruba access points, in order to facilitate the deployment of new technologies and eliminate the roaming issues inherent in a multi-vendor environment. This work is currently underway and we anticipate completing this phase by the end of calendar year 2014.

The following phases, involving pervasive deployment on a per-building basis, will need to closely follow the published plans for upgrading within-building Ethernet switch hardware. Newer access points require the gigabit connectivity and power-over-Ethernet support that only comes with new switches. The information on that project can be found at http://its.unc.edu/project/campus-network-hardware-refresh/.  The campus-wide initiative is estimated to be completed in 2017.

In the meantime, if your workgroup requires Wi-Fi connectivity sooner than the schedule for your building, we are still scheduling ad hoc Wi-Fi installations at the a la carte pricing of $1500 per indoor wireless access point. While you won’t get a refund for that expenditure when the time comes to cover your building, any access points that you purchased will be covered for automatic upgrades at no charge under campus Wi-Fi refresh plans.

For more information, contact Jim Gogan at gogan@email.unc.edu.