'TAMIU Unplugged' Brings Wireless Network to Campus in 2004

'TAMIU Unplugged' Brings Wireless Network to Campus

With one click, Texas A&M International University student Eduardo Garcia can check his email, send his term paper to his professor and attend his online class -- with no visible wires, cables or plugs. Garcia is using "TAMIU Unplugged," the University's new wireless internet connection that launched this Monday.

TAMIU now joins the over 60 percent of cutting-edge universities across the nation that have designated wireless areas of their campuses for student, faculty and administrative use.

Lakshmana Viswanath, director of the University's Computer Telecommunications Services, said the prototype, located on the third floor of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, is the first of a planned series of wireless access sites on campus.

"We're keenly interested in providing our University community with the latest in technological advances that can speed learning, productivity and campus-wide connections. We envision a series of access sites across the campus connecting us here and beyond," Viswanath explained.

How does it work?

The University, utilizing the latest technologies, establishes a wireless signal zone on campus that provides Internet access points in all directions. Users with computers equipped for wireless access connect to the Internet from as far as 100 yards from the access point, depending on a number of variables.

Lebrian Gaskins, CTS associate director, offered additional details.

"Users of 'TAMIU Unplugged' will initially require Windows XP. Windows 2000 will also work, but the user will need the latest Service Packs from Microsoft and a wireless management software client that supports WEP encryption and automatically generated WEP keys. Most wireless adapters come with a wireless management software client, but users can find links to other clients on our website," Gaskins explained.

As with all new technologies, limitations and security systems are also in place, he noted.

"The service is 24 hours, but may be limited by access to buildings, the user's wireless adapter, protocol used to connect, the number of users at any given time, terrain or the presence of solid walls.

Regarding security, the service is limited to students who are currently enrolled at TAMIU and full-time faculty and staff. Access to the service is password protected. In addition, the University will support several types of encryption and authentication protocols for wireless local area networks, among other security measures," he explained.

"TAMIU Unplugged" follows on the heels of the University's successful "Email for Life," which provides University students and graduates with a free email account for life. Both efforts are offered at no cost to students and graduates. Students, faculty, alumni and staff interested in accessing "TAMIU Unplugged," the wireless network, can visit an informative website at

http://cts.tamiu.edu/default.asp?id=wireless

Information is also available by phone by calling the TAMIU's CTS at 326.2310 or e-mail at hotline@tamiu.edu.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu
5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, TX 78041-1900 Work956.326.2100