FEBRUARY 15, 2006

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USAO goes 100 percent wireless for student convenience


Showing USAO President John Feaver how to check his e-mail on the new wireless network is Misty Shepherd, a sophomore in psychology from Lindsay. The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma now offers a totally wireless campus, offering access to the Internet from everywhere on campus, including every building and all outdoor spaces. The service is free.

Students found a welcome new convenience when they returned to campus this spring at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma – the broadest access to Internet services available on any college campus in Oklahoma. Better yet, it’s free.

USAO became one of the first Oklahoma schools to “go totally wireless,” a term meaning that students, faculty and guests with laptop and handheld computers can surf the Internet from anywhere on campus – even outdoors or in the middle of the campus oval.

“Students are psyched!” said Misty Shepherd, a sophomore in psychology from Lindsay. “This will help students tremendously. Now we will be able to do more together. We will be able to meet in the library and work on our own computers or even in the cafeteria. This will absolutely enhance the reputation of USAO. It shows that we are technically as capable as any big university.”

USAO President John Feaver called it “another milestone for USAO. We are delighted to provide students with this new level of service and access. This marks an important step forward in service to students and faculty.”

Better service to students was the whole idea behind the plan, said Lynn Boyce, chief information officer for USAO.

“USAO students want a quality education and quality services,” Boyce said. “Students want to study together, research together and access the information they need. Before, students had to meet in labs, when they were open, or in the Library, when it was open, and try to collaborate in quiet tones so they would not disturb those sitting next to them. Now they can meet anywhere on campus, anytime they choose, open their laptops and work together as they wish.”

Access to the wireless network at USAO requires no password for campus visitors, but the service is limited to web browsing and e-mail. For security reasons, campus servers and other networks are not available to wireless visitors. But faculty and staff can get to their files and campus networks by simply using their approved log-ins when they connect. This gives better security for all users.

A survey of other Oklahoma colleges showed that 10 schools are building wireless networks that cover more than half the campus. From survey results, USAO is the first to offer total coverage that includes all outdoor spaces. While wireless networks are growing in popularity at smaller private schools, it’s a complicated undertaking at the large public universities.

Using the new wireless network at USAO “is a breeze,” said Adeel Siddiqui, network specialist. “We have open access to the wireless network for not only USAO denizens but anyone else visiting the campus as well. That means that wireless Internet access is free to everyone.”

“As soon as your wireless device -- PC, laptop, iMac, PSP, cell phone, etc. -- is within range of our network, it should almost immediately pop-up with a message saying that the ‘USAO Guest’ wireless network has been detected. At that point, you should at least get the option of connecting to it or not; or in most cases, you’ll automatically get connected to the network without any action on your part."

Contact: Randy Talley, director of public relations, 1.405.574.1337