By: Jenna Beetstra

The Simon Fraser University (SFU) student residences are soon to have an upgraded Wi-Fi system in every building.

The first phase of the Wi-Fi upgrade involved installing wireless modems in each residence room, a process that was completed prior to the start of move-in this year. Later in the semester, SFU residence has plans to unroll a building-wide Wi-Fi system.

Previously, students had to bring their own wireless modems if they wanted to have Wi-Fi in their rooms, or they could plug their device directly into a wired modem with an ethernet cord. The residences did have a wireless connection in the common rooms.

Tracey Mason-Innes, the Director of Residence and Housing at SFU said that the decision to upgrade the Wi-Fi followed a survey during the Fall 2016 semester that gathered feedback about the current services.

“Residents and guests let us know that the wired Internet system provided in the rooms did not meet their expectations,” Mason-Innes told The Peak.

According to Mason-Innes, there was trouble finding a service provider that could accommodate the project. In addition, the previous contract with the Internet service provider needed to run out before they were able to work towards a new contract.

“There are very few service providers out there who can meet our needs,” she said.

Though she did not provide an estimate on the cost of the project, Mason-Innes noted that SFU residence expects to incur costs to upgrade fibre and wiring.

Hannah Fikkert, an SFU student who previously lived in residences, told The Peak that wifi is important for students living on campus to connect with each other and complete their studies from their buildings.

She said that she supplied her own modem in residences and she didn’t encounter problems with the system.

“As most students know, SFU campus wifi can be very fickle, and it was nice to know that when I went back to my townhouse there was always a strong connection,” Fikkert said.

Fikkert said that she hopes the new system will not lead to internet interruptions for students in residences as it is implemented, but she has “high hopes” for the improvements.

A second wave of upgrades will take place throughout the semester as the telecommunications company Shaw will remove the modems in each room, replacing them with a single system that covers the whole building. Once the full wireless project is completed, students or guests will be able to log in once and access wireless Internet as they move throughout the building.

This means that, when visiting common rooms other dorms, you will remain connected to the same wireless network.

“We expect it to be all completed by the end of the fall term,” Mason-Innes explained. “In the meantime, wireless modems have replaced the old wired equipment in all residence rooms.”

Emails will be sent out to students living in residence in order to coordinate installing the new system, according to the Residence and Housing website.

The website also notes that any missing pieces of equipment at the end of the semester will incur a $300 charge.

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