CTS introduces many new services, updates to campus, residential Wi-Fi

Campus Technology Services improved the Oswego State campus Wi-Fi Internet system over this past summer. These improvements include the discontinuation of, the Cisco Network Access Control Agent, a Wi-Fi connection for two devices, a guest res Wi-Fi service and a separate gaming Wi-Fi service.

Over the summer, more than 250 Wi-Fi access points were added to academic buildings. This includes complete coverage for Mahar Hall, Rich Hall, Lanigan 2nd floor classrooms and a few classrooms in the Marano Campus Center. The updates are part of a three-year process to increase Wi-Fi coverage across the entire campus, which will include academic spaces and outdoor areas.

“The campus wanted to provide a better user experience for students when using the campus Wi-Fi, particularly in the residence halls,” said Nicole Decker, Assistant Director of CTS. “Students in residence were dissatisfied with complaints ranging from poor Wi-Fi signal reception, slow connection speeds and general usability. We put a plan together to address the issues and provide the students with a system that allows them to have the Wi-Fi experience they are expecting.”

Decker added that last semester, CTS started addressing “dead spots” in the residence halls in which there was either no or poor Wi-Fi signal. Then they made some changes to the Internet connection to provide 25 percent more bandwidth last March. While this doesn’t necessarily make the connections faster, it allows for more traffic.

The Cisco Network Access Control Agent is still installed on returning students’ computers. However, it will not allow complete Internet access this semester. The CTS blog directs students to connect through the new Cisco Identity Service Engine and uninstall Cisco NAC.

“With the NAC agent, it required you to have an up-to-date anti-virus and Windows updates enabled,” CTS Desk Coordinator Joshua Galletta said. The new system, Cisco ISE, doesn’t require any of that.”

Students are now able to connect to the residential network directly from their web browsers. This saves them time and space on their hard drives. Another perk is this system allows students to connect two devices to the network at the same time. Then, once connected to Cisco ISE, students do not need to log onto the network every time they use the Internet. When logging on for the first time, they register their device by its Media Access Control (MAC) address. This process is quick and easy.

There is also a new separate wireless network devoted to gaming systems called Oswego-Gaming-RES. Gamers can now connect to this designated network without being slowed down by all the other network traffic.

Students were introduced to a brand new system on their arrival to Oswego this fall, which caused a lot of mixed reactions.

“I like it because I can walk into any building and be connected,” Oswego State student Tessa Hudon said. “But I feel like the connection goes in and out a lot.”

Another new change is the addition of a guest network, which people that come to campus to visit students can log into.

“The Oswego-Guest-RES network was set up as an easy way to register student devices to be used on the Oswego-Secure-RES network,” Decker said. “It has very limited bandwidth, providing email and basic web service.”

The Oswego CTS blog states that the new Wi-Fi system should make it easier for students to connect to the residential network both in the dorms and in academic buildings.

Last year, each student paid a $49 residential network Internet service fee as a part of their tuition. That charge rose with the new changes to $74. This was the first price change in 11 years and was discussed by both the Student Association and Residence Life and Housing last spring. However, it is free to add a second device to the network but a third costs $25. Students are paying the same for three device connections as they have paid for two devices in previous years.

CTS plans to make more Wi-Fi updates as the next few semesters progress. More Wi-Fi access points are planned for installation this semester in the outdoor permaculture garden at Lee Hall and in the Campus Center over winter break.

“We will continue to examine Wi-Fi improvements in areas where this is low signal,” Decker said. “Based on student feedback, we will be focused on the Lonis, Mackin and Moreland complex.  Due to its largely concrete construction, this complex poses additional challenges for Wi-Fi connectivity.”

Decker added CTS plans on rolling out the same Cisco ISE system used in residence halls to the academic side. That should be completed sometime this academic year.