A WIRELESS-ONLY PILOT PROJECT
As La Citadelle prepares to open its doors to students for the 2012–2013 school year, Network and Communications Services (NCS) will be launching a pilot project concerning the REZ Data Service to be offered in this newest McGill residence building.
La Citadelle will be configured for wireless data service only. We will be testing a new exceptionally high-speed wireless technology (802.11n) that provides speeds that are four times faster than the wireless currently in other residence buildings—in other words, speeds that are the same as, if not faster than, wired LAN connections.
Students signing up for REZ Data Service in La Citadelle will only have wireless access to their exclusive REZ network. There will be a LAN jack in the wall, but it will not be activated. Instead, students will experience wireless service that is four times faster than the REZ Data Service offered in all the other residence buildings.
For those REZ students who have computers with no wireless connectivity (e.g., desktops), USB wireless NICs will be available for "loan" from our office: your student fee account will be charged a nominal deposit for borrowing the USB wireless NIC device—upon return of the device at the end of your stay, your student fee account will be credited the full deposit amount.
REZ Voice Service will remain unchanged, as will all other aspects of the REZ Voice and Data Service in general, including accessing the REZ wireless network in any other residence building (albeit at a slower speed). Conversely, REZ Data Service subscribers from other residence buildings will be able to experience the exceptionally higher speed wireless access when visiting La Citadelle.
COMMUNICATIONS AND SUPPORT
Technical support will be offered by the ICS Service Desk to handle any issues related to La Citadelle’s new wireless-only service.
Since this is a pilot project, we will be surveying the students for feedback and to learn about their experiences throughout the school year.
We also welcome you to submit any comments and/or suggestions about this pilot project by rezclerk [at] mcgill [dot] ca (email).
So why are we doing this?
The new La Citadelle residence is an opportunity for us to invest heavily in and test the latest wireless equipment so those REZ students will have a better quality of network service than in the other REZ buildings. We’re not trying to save money, we’re trying to spend our dollars so that students can reap maximum benefits. Other advantages include:
- Security. Registered REZ students must authenticate (with their McGill Username/McGill Password credentials) to gain access to the REZ wireless network. REZ students can authenticate all their wireless devices to the REZ wireless network.
- Less administration. Because of the security issue outlined above, the REZ wireless network can remain “on” everywhere all the time—the REZ student only needs to register online so their credentials will give them access to the REZ wireless. LAN jacks, since they require no authentication however, still need to be turned on/off “manually” through in-house scripts and tools, a delay of 1–2 business days.
- Even less administration. If a REZ student changes rooms (moves) within La Citadelle, nothing has to be updated/changed with respect to wireless access. No affected LAN jacks would need to be turned off and on. The student’s wireless access continues uninterrupted.
- Multiple devices. REZ students can access the REZ wireless network with more than the one device (e.g., laptop, mobile device, etc). Only one device can be connected to through a LAN jack (our “networks-behind-networks” policy prohibits the use of routers).
- No house calls. We are planning a network refresh project, which would entail complete rewiring of buildings and new equipment. A wireless-only building would require no room visits. Wired LAN jacks would mean much more wiring and room disruptions.
Finally, wired LAN jack connections simply aren't being used. Out of the 2900 REZ students who signed up for REZ Data Service last year (2011–2012), only 400 (less than 15%) of them actually had something plugged into their LAN jack.