PSU students with laptop computers can now go online on-campus. John Snyder, a network engineer who has worked at PSU for about three years, heads PSU’s wireless network. His group has been working about a year on the project. According to Snyder, students can now access Webmail, take WebCT courses, view streaming media, surf the web, and do just about anything else normally performed on a plugged-in computer.
The price Portland State has paid for wireless Internet connection has topped $25,000, with the majority of funding coming from student fees.
The program began last year with an experiment in the Brandford Price Millar Library, and has been extended to cover the majority of the campus. Now students can get PubNet access in half a dozen locations across campus, including the Park Blocks. A map and full list of zones can be accessed at www.oit.pdx.edu/pubnet.
To access the Pubnet, a student needs only three things in addition to a Windows computer: an ODIN account, Windows 95 or higher and a wireless networking pc card or built in support for wireless networking.
The ODIN account can be obtained by going to www.account.pdx.edu. Wireless networking cards can be found at nearly any computer supply store and generally run between $100 and $150. Snyder warns students, however, that they often get what they pay for. “Cisco cards are probably the best, and you can buy them anywhere. The cheaper cards don’t have as much range.”
Surfing the net with the wind in your hair isn’t as easy as simply acquiring the above mentioned items. There is a process to installing the hardware that is too detailed and complex to list here. Snyder and his co-workers have an online support system that can be found at www.helpdesk.pdx.edu. The site contains step-by-step details on how to get all of your equipment ready for laptop connections. They are all spelled out along with other frequently asked questions that one may pose when considering this.
Students or faculty with Mac equipment as opposed to Windows can also access the Pubnet wireless system. Full details on how to set up your Mac laptop computer can also be found at the helpdesk site.