WMU News

WMU ranks 8th in the nation in wireless computing

April 6, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University ranks eighth in the nation in the use of wireless computing technology on a university campus according to a study conducted by Intel and released today.

Intel ranked the 100 "Most Unwired College Campuses" based on several factors, including number of hotspots, which are places where wireless computers will work; percentage of the campus covered by wireless technology; number of undergraduate students; number of computers and the computer-to-student ratio.

WMU is the only Michigan university in the list's top 50, and only one other Michigan school made the top 100. Siena Heights University in Adrian was ranked 58th.

After more than a year of concentrated effort, "Wireless Western" officially became a reality in January 2002, when then-President Elson S. Floyd teamed up with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton for a campus "wire-cutting" ceremony.

"Our initial intention in launching Wireless Western was to provide ubiquitous access for our students--access anytime, anywhere," says Viji Murali, WMU vice president for information technology. "Not only have we achieved that goal, but also a significant national ranking, in the company of other leading universities. I want to thank everyone at WMU who worked hard to make this vision a reality."

The Wireless Western initiative involved placing more than 600 wireless access ports in campus buildings, and some 30 outdoor units to carpet the campus with wireless capability that allows faculty, staff and students to access University networks and the Internet from virtually every corner of the campus. Wireless Western made WMU one of the first major research universities in the nation, and the only one in Michigan, to offer campuswide wireless computing.

The cost savings of using a wireless network to extend computing capability is substantial. Wiring an existing building can cost from five to 10 times as much as installing wireless access points. In 2001, the Chronicle of Higher Education estimated the cost of a wireless installation at about one-fifth the cost of hard wiring a building.

Indiana University ranked first in the Intel study, followed by Purdue University and the University of Texas at Austin. The top 10 universities are listed below.

Most Unwired College Campuses

1. Indiana University, Bloomington
2. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
3. University of Texas at Austin
4. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
5. Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.
6. Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh
7. University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
8. Western Michigan University
9. American University, Washington, D.C.
10. St. John's University, New York

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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