5.11.1 Wireless - Teaching, Learning, Technology Roundtable - St. Cloud State University

5.11.1 Wireless


Significant advances have occurred in wireless technology in recent years. Wireless technology is becoming more widely used as many concerns have been addressed. In fact, a number of institutions have used the availability of this technology in recruitment. The mobile anytime-anywhere application provides by wireless technology offers many attractive features.

A wireless working group in LR&TS — Information Technology Services (ITS) — has considerable experience relative to advantages, disadvantages, concerns, and costs of implementing this technology across campus. This working group has developed specific installation plans and cost estimates. Currently, wireless networks (standard 802.11b) are being installed in select campus locations. Wireless local area networks (LANs) are planned for a number of buildings over the next several years. The SCSU Facilities Master Plan should be updated to consider wireless, and in implementing wireless in new buildings and in renovations, we should coordinate with this plan.

A principle concern with any wireless technology is security. ITS has examined various options and developed policy and procedure that address security concerns. The wireless network envisioned will be available to any user with a valid HuskyNet ID and password. In addition to assuring the overall security of this campus-wide network, SCSU will need to determine how non-ITS wireless LANs will integrate with this system to prevent the emergence of "rogue" wireless systems that create security issues. It is essential that all campus wireless be channeled through a central unit to assure the security of the entire campus-wide system.

ITS will continue to actively research the viability of wireless networks to determine the extent of installation The pace of change in technology requires an analysis of the consequences of technology implementation but also the consequences for SCSU of not adopting wireless technology. In other words, not installing wireless may have a significant downside: what might these costs and other downsides be? A principle aspect of the move to a greater level of wireless relates to what extent the wired and wireless networks will interact and what level of support is required by both systems.


Over the next five years, the university will
  • evaluate use of currently installed wireless LANs
  • determine the anticipated scope of use by Residence Halls and SCSU
  • continue to examine and address concerns about
    • security
    • integration with non-ITS LAN systems
    • support for LANs and wired systems
  • evaluate the cost/benefit of wireless LANs and wired networks
  • recommend wireless LANs to be implemented
  • develop training/education to provide information to the campus community about wireless LANs

Specific Actions and Timeline

A committee will be created that includes members of the ITS wireless working group.
  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions.
  • The committee will evaluate the current and planned expansion of wireless networks on campus as related to the other goals stated for this section.
  • Based on this evaluation, the committee will recommend how to proceed with further installation of wireless networks.
  • The implementation of wireless networks should be coordinated with facilities management relative to planned remodeling/refurbishing of buildings on campus.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will produce a final report on wireless networks and a planning document for the next five-year plan. These will be submitted to TLTR by February 1, 2008, for review.


The overall cost to outfit residential halls and apartments with wireless networking is currently estimated at $125,784.00. Similarly, the cost to install wireless equipment in all remaining university building is estimated at $106,444.90. For a total campus wireless solution, the cost would be approximately $232,229.90 in 2003 dollars. The cost of technologists, training, and education will need to be factored into the resource costs.


  • Has the committee evaluated use of currently installed wireless LANs?
  • Has the committee determined the anticipated scope of use by Residence Halls and SCSU?
  • Has the committee examined and addressed security concerns?
  • Has the committee evaluated the integration of wireless and wired technology?
  • Has the committee examined and addressed issues relating to support for LANs and wired systems?
  • Has the committee evaluated costs and benefits of wireless LANs and wired networks?
  • Have the committee’s recommendations regarding wireless LANs been implemented?
  • Has the committee developed and regularly evaluated training/education to provide information to the campus community about wireless LANs?
  • Has the committee completed a final evaluation of wireless technology in 2007/2008 and produced a report?
  • Has the committee developed a new planning document for the next planning cycle based on the activities during the 2003-2008 technology plan?

Revised: May 2003