student in res hall
Photo credit: Chris Florio

For years students sought Wi-Fi access in their individual rooms, and in 2013 the University Budget Committee identified funding for this long- awaited service. As a result, all on-campus University dorms now have full wireless coverage to satisfy the needs of students who come to school with numerous Wi-Fi-hungry devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and video-streaming consoles.

Project completed faster than expected

With support and encouragement from the Residence Hall Association, ITS and University Housing and Residential Education completed the Wi-Fi expansion in half the scheduled time for the project. The departments completed the work in early 2014 instead of at the beginning of the 2015 spring semester. Workers installed approximately 2,000 wireless access points to bring Wi-Fi to 8,700 students in 32 residence halls.

“The collaborative efforts of the networking, telecommunications, ResNET, housing support, and facilities staff combined with the one-time funding support received from the University is a model for meeting the contemporary technology needs of the students we serve.” —Chris Payne, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

The effort required full, on-location building site surveys of every residence hall. The survey assessed appropriate signal strengths and radio placement, created a plan for providing network cabling and switch ports to each wireless access point, and determined a design to provide power to these access points.

“The best collaborative effort I’ve ever witnessed”

Campus leaders and individual workers on the project called the effort a success. “In all of my (29) years here, it was the best collaborative effort I’ve ever witnessed,” said Larry Hicks, Director of Housing and Residential Education.

“The pride and the dedication really came through with this project,” said Chris Payne, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. “I think it’s a shining example of how working together on behalf of the students we serve can make a difference.”

“Everybody from housing, to residents, to our group, to the group who did the cable installation, worked really well together. It was the smoothest project I’ve ever been on. … I heard a lot of really great comments from students. We are the most popular people in the residence halls.” —Alan Murray, ITS Network Analyst

Project Overview

$3 million to upgrade the switches and provide pervasive wireless within as many residence halls as possible, excluding Odum Village which is already wireless. Equipment has been delivered. Funding has been set aside for cabling; all of funds have been expended.

Project Scope

There are 46 residence halls on the UNC Campus, excluding Odum Village; all have wireless access in common areas that use outdated Cisco access points. Those access points will be updated and new access points will be added to cover all suites/bedrooms.

Key Milestones

Milestone Description Start Date Finish Date
1 Complete installation in bedrooms for 8 high-rise and low-rise residence halls; pull all cabling for facilities in Milestone 2 out into hallways (UPDATE: Aycock and Graham completed early) June 2013 August 16, 2013
2 Parker, Avery, Teague, Carmichael, Conner, Winston, Alexander, Joyner, Cobb, Everett, Lewis, Stacy, Manly, Mangum, Ruffin, and Grimes (UPDATE: access available in all student bedrooms as of October 17, 2013.) June 2013 January 6, 2014
3 Kenan, Alderman, McIver, Old East, Old West, Baity 1101 June 2013 August 15, 2014
4 Baity Hill and Ram Village June 2014 January 6, 2015

Project Team

Project Sponsors

Chris Payne
Larry Hicks
Stan Waddell

Project Team

ITS Networking
Housing
ResNet
ITS Communications
Residential Housing Association

Project Responsibility Matrix

Task List Networking Comm Housing ResNet
Site surveys & floor plans A
Room jack inventory A
Communication closet port inventory A
Associate jack and port inventories A
Run conduit for cable C A
Run cable from room to hallway A
Identify & install cooling solutions in comm closets (where needed) C A A
Install access points A
Provision access points A
Deactivate identified room jacks A
Test signal strength A
  • Accountable (A) = person or role responsible for actually doing or completing the item
  • Consulted (C) = person or role whose subject matter expertise is required in order to complete the item

Schedule

Summer 2013: Wireless connectivity established by the start of Fall 2013 semester

Residence Hall Student Bedrooms Common Areas & Apartments
Hinton James Complete Complete
Craige Complete Complete
Ehringhaus Complete Complete
Morrison Complete Complete
Horton & Craige North Complete Complete
Koury and Hardin Complete Complete
Graham Complete Complete
Aycock Complete Complete

Spring 2014: Wireless connectivity established by the start of Spring 2014 semester

Residence Hall Student Bedrooms Common Areas & Apartments
Avery, Parker, Teague Complete Complete
Carmichael Complete Complete
Connor, Alexander Complete Complete
Winston Complete Complete
Joyner Complete Complete
Cobb Complete Complete
Everett, Lewis and Stacy Complete Complete
Mangum Complete Complete
Manly Complete Complete
Ruffin, Grimes Complete Complete

Fall 2014: Wireless connectivity established by the start of Fall 2014 semester

Residence Hall Student Bedrooms Common Areas & Apartments
Kenan, Alderman, McIver Complete Complete
Spencer Complete Complete
Old East, Old West Complete Complete
Baity 1101 Complete Complete

Spring 2015: Wireless connectivity established by the start of Spring 2015 semester

Residence Hall Student Bedrooms Common Areas & Apartments
1351 Baity Hill Complete Complete
1401 Baity Hill Complete Complete
1501 Baity Hill Complete Complete
1600 Baity Hill Complete Complete
1700 Baity Hill Complete Complete
1800 Baity Hill Complete Complete
1900 Baity Hill Complete Complete
2000 Baity Hill Complete Complete
Rams Village 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Complete Complete