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Division of Information Technology

Wi-Fi and Switching Upgrades on the Columbia Campus

Updated on: June 9, 2023; Originally posted on: Sept. 16, 2022

The Division of IT is aware of wireless issues affecting classroom and administrative buildings across the Columbia campus. While work continues to improve wireless connectivity in the short-term, the division is currently executing a long-range plan to improve a large segment of the wireless and network switching infrastructure across campus.

This work builds on the success of the 2020 wireless network upgrade in all residence halls on the Columbia campus. The University invested $6.5 million to implement Phase II of the campus Wi-Fi improvement plan. The latest upgrades focus on improving wireless internet access across 85 academic and administrative buildings on the Columbia campus by the end of 2023. New wireless access points will replace the current infrastructure providing faster and more reliable connections.

The Wi-Fi upgrades will also take advantage of the soon-to-be upgraded network infrastructure. The Division of IT invested $7.5 million to upgrade and standardize the network switching infrastructure linked to the Wi-Fi improvement buildings. The network will be more segmented and less vulnerable to outages. By the end of 2023, both wireless and wired networks will be far more resilient. Network outages in the upgraded buildings related to failing hardware are expected to drop by 90 percent or more.

Upgrades have begun but will not be completed until the end of 2023 due to a variety of factors, including supply chain issues and shipping delays. The schedule is fluid as the Division of IT coordinates with our stakeholders to ensure minimal disruption to the university’s students, faculty, and staff. Since most classrooms on campus are utilized constantly through the week, it will take time to reach them all.  

In the meantime, technicians will continue to troubleshoot the outdated network that is currently on the Columbia campus. Many routers and controllers are more than 13 years-old, while access points are 7–8 years-old. This outdated equipment causes repeated outages, slow connectivity, and disconnects. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to contact the IT Service Desk at 803-777-1800 to report issues. It is helpful to identify your exact location on campus, including the building, floor, and room number, if applicable. You can also follow the Division of IT on Facebook or Twitter, @UofSCtech.

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