UCSB student John Simmons’ birthday wish to watch porn during lectures just might come true.
“There are times when I’m sitting in class and the class is boring, but attendance is mandatory and I wish I could access porn or addictinggames.com,” Simmons, a first-year engineering major said.
Wireless Internet access flows throughout the UCen, most Davidson Library floors, Campbell Hall and the Student Resource Building, but is not available in all buildings or popular campus spots – including most classrooms. The story is different at other California universities. At UC Santa Cruz, for instance, wireless network coverage spans the entire campus, and at UC San Diego, wireless Internet is available in almost every building.
This may all change within the next year, if various plans to finance wireless expansion around UCSB’s campus go through. Housing and Residential Services and the English Dept., for example, are both considering their options independently, as individual departments – and not a central campus entity – must pay for the installation of wireless access points.
Last year the Executive Vice Chancellor’s Office made $200,000 available to increase wireless capabilities, but that money has nearly been drained, said Office of Information Technology Campus Network Programmer Kevin Schmidt. He said the financing went to jumpstart the necessary infrastructure for wireless service.
“Although it was not entirely spent, that [money] is basically gone and there’s no funding to do installation aside of that,” Schmidt said. “The expensive part is getting cabling to access points.”
Despite such financial obstacles, the English Dept. has moved forward with funding for its own wireless coverage. As a result, wireless will soon be available in South Hall, including the building’s Grad Tower.
Meanwhile, Ben Price, manager of network services for Residential Information Systems, said all residence halls will have strong, building-wide wireless Internet coverage starting next school year, paid for through students’ residential fees.
Price said installation of access points – devices that transmit and receive radio signals, allowing wire-free access to the Internet – will begin once students move out of the halls for the summer.
“We’re doing complete wireless coverage for all residence halls,” Price said. “It’s a labor-intensive process installing additional access points, [but] once the residents are gone, we’ll begin the installation.”
However, not all departments have as strong an organizational support as ResNet, or access to the necessary funding. To remedy the situation, Associated Students Off-campus Representative Samantha Nevels said student government may use money from the Students’ Initiative to expand wireless service throughout the campus by the end of the school year.
“Right now we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to do it, [but] we haven’t done anything officially at all,” Nevels said.
In the meantime, students like Simmons must cope with the realities of spotty coverage.
“It’s annoying when I’m working on a group project in a classroom or a lecture hall and we’ll all have to leave to go somewhere with a signal,” said Simmons. “I pray for wireless Internet at night.”