It’s a wrap! Campus WiFi Upgrade and WiFi on the Diag are complete

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    VPIT/CIO Ravi Pendse at podium with (seated l to r) EVP/CFO Kevin Hegarty, President Mark Schlissel, and CSG President Daniel Greene. Sign language interpreter Liz Clarno stands left. (Joel Iverson/ITS Communications)

On Friday, September 7, 2018, ITS held a ribbon cutting ceremony on the steps of Hatcher Graduate Library, in the iconic central Diag, to mark the completion of two projects: the Campus WiFi Upgrade Project and WiFi on the Diag.

The event began with remarks from Vice President of Information Technology and CIO, Ravi Pendse. Pendse reviewed the accomplishments of this initiative to increase WiFi capabilities in 275 buildings on the Ann Arbor campus, and to extend WiFi to the central campus Diag. The projects:

  • Upgraded wireless capability in 15.9 million square feet of building space on the Ann Arbor campus.
  • Installed over 11,000 new wireless access points, providing coverage from the basement to the top of the stacks in U-M buildings.

In addition, the Campus WiFi Upgrade project was completed on time in three years with the partnership of ITS, Facilities and Operations, President Schlissel, Provost Philbert, and unit IT and facilities management throughout campus. WiFi on the Diag was completed in just four months. “The campus WiFi and WiFi on the Diag project is an example of collaboration and partnership across campus, a true representation of our culture,” said Pendse. He also acknowledged the role that students played in making this effort a priority for campus, and asked that students continue to inform the administration of spaces on campus that do not have sufficient WiFi coverage. He noted that ITS is committed to staying in front of the needs of campus, and that more work will need to be done to do so.

Daniel Greene, Central Student Government president, spoke on behalf of the student body and acknowledged the role that successful relationships between student and administrative leaders on campus had in making this project a success. “The completion of WiFi on the Diag highlights the university’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of students and demonstrates the productivity of successful relationships between student and administrative leaders,” Greene said. “I hope today’s ceremony is one of many to come celebrating the improvement of the physical environment and services on central campus, and I encourage all students, current and future, to speak up and initiate conversations about how we can make our already-amazing campus even better.”

President Mark Schlissel was the final speaker and noted the importance of technology to creating a world-class university environment for teaching and learning. “More and more each day we’ve grown to depend on Internet access as our tether and our lifeline at scales that range from across the Diag to literally around the world,” the president said. “With WiFi connectivity further enhancing the learning environment, there is no limit on lightning-fast access to the world’s information no matter where you are on the U of M campus.” Kevin Hegarty, executive vice-president and CFO, then joined the group in a ribbon cutting ceremony, drawing an official end to the event.

WiFi usage continues to expand at a rapid rate on the U-M campus, with over 106,000 unique devices connecting to the network on the first day of class, 2018. (For reference, there are 46,000 total registered students). Over 74.6 terabytes of data were exchanged over the WiFi network for the same period. (That is about 37,000 hours worth of movies or recorded lectures.)

For more information on these projects, visit the WiFi project page.