Gelman tests wireless Web

New internet connections in the Gelman Library may be the first step in spreading wireless Web surfing around campus.

Gelman technicians plan to conduct experiments with student volunteers to test wireless internet connections, said Blaine D’Amico, manager of Information Technology and a network engineer at the library.

The Authenticated Scholars Network Access Port, or aSNAP, opened to staff use in Gelman two years ago, and was soon brought into classrooms for professors to use.

The program works on any laptop with a Windows operating system and a ResNet connection, allowing students to surf the Web wire-free, D’Amico said.

The system works by emitting waves from an antenna on the second floor of Gelman. Students enter their GWIS2 username and password to connect to the internet.

Students can use about 35 aSNAP ports on the fourth and fifth floors and in the 24-hour study room on the first floor of Gelman.

The library may add ports to the third floor and group study rooms, D’Amico said.

D’Amico said he hopes someday students will be able to sit anywhere in GW’s library and use the wireless connection.

We are examining and testing whether aSNAP can be expanded into a wireless solution, D’Amico said.

D’Amico said he is studying each floor in the building to see where they can add the network services. To find the best locations, the technicians carefully maneuver the antenna to map where the connection works best.

The signal in the 24-hour study room on the first floor of the library is so strong that students can access the internet from Pushkin Park across the street, D’Amico said. But the strength of the signal diminishes outside the building, he said.

Universities across the country are also experimenting with the wireless connections.Because wireless Ethernet cards are more expensive than most connections, testing may take a while, D’Amico said. The wireless Ethernet cards cost about $300, $200 more normal Ethernet connections, he said.

It is always a cost-benefit discussion, D’Amico said. How far we go is based on funding and student request.

Julia Smith

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