UF improves wireless access, network on campus
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More images taken of a University of Florida linebacker tackling their opponent at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be delivered to thousands of social media accounts.
Welcome to the world of improved mobile campus connectivity, where 90,000 Gator football fans can now document in real time each moment of the season. There’s greater wireless coverage and capacity to enable mobile devices for more texts and calls to go through.
“Our goal is to connect any device, at any time and from any place,” said Elias G. Eldayrie, UF chief information officer. “The stadium is our first facility to enjoy these network improvements. The rest of the campus will be completed within two years.”
It took UF nearly three years to coordinate and implement DAS, or the Distributed Antenna System, a complex system of technologies relying on radio frequency and many small receiving antennas. The new DAS network can increase the capacity, coverage and performance of wireless technologies.
“During the first game of this season, I placed a test call to home and walked around the whole stadium concourse and the call did not drop,” said John Madey, telecom manager for UF Information Technology. “I would not have been able to even make a phone call last year.”
Madey said the connection will continue to improve throughout the football season, when the system will be more fully optimized. It will take several game-day events to fully fine tune the DAS network.
And it’s not just the stadium. The two-year plan to connect all buildings to the DAS will allow high-speed access within any building on campus. AT&T won the bid to equip the University with the technology and the company is installing hundreds of mini-antennas in discrete locations across the University. Over 300 DAS antennas are installed in the stadium alone. The bid required “3-bars,” or -87 dBm coverage. The next phase of the project will give improved access to Shands, Innovation Hub, the Libraries West and Smathers, and the O’Connell Center.
AT&T customers will be the first to benefit from the improved service, with better online access and speed on campus. Other wireless carriers have also expressed interest in joining the system next year.
- Claudia Adrien
- Elias G. Eldayrie, email@example.com, 352-273-1788