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BelleAire provides wireless access

Justin Tardiff | Thursday, October 13, 2005

Once immobilized by cable cords and outlet locations, Saint Mary’s laptop owners are now free to roam campus and work where they please.

The College installed a new wireless network this year called BelleAire. The network allows laptop users to have wireless internet connections in various designated areas on campus.

The new BelleAire wireless network is available to all students, faculty and staff with a wireless-enabled notebook computer. It is also available to guests of the campus between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“I believe the greatest advantage is obviously greater access,” said Director of Information Technology Keith Fowlkes. “Our College community can securely access the campus network and the Internet from almost anywhere on campus. Being able to get online where you most want to do your work can be a great asset to creativity and scholarship.”

Prior to the BelleAire wireless network, Saint Mary’s used a basic wired network connection. This new connection, however, is quicker and more efficient.

“Even though we support both the 802.11b and 802.11g wireless standards, wired network connections continue to be higher in speed than wireless connections in general,” Fowlkes said.

Freshman Lauren Gilmore said the addition of the wireless network has been helpful.

“It is so much easier to study in different places since there are more places around campus where we can be connected,” Gilmore said.

These new wireless hotspots are only accessible from public areas since students have quicker wired connections in their residence halls at the present time.

“We do not plan to go wireless in the residence halls, because the connections are already faster,” Fowlkes said.

Classroom buildings and common floors of residence halls are configured with the wireless network.

“The wireless capabilities around campus are very practical and helpful to all the students,” freshman Dana Krilich said. “It’s definitely an advantage to be able to take my laptop around campus and be connected when I’m not always in my room.”