Western continues network improvements

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Missouri Western’s internet network continues to improve.

MWSU Information Technology Services has been working for several months now to improve the wired portion of the university’s internet by replacing old equipment with newer technology.

Much of the work has primarily focused on the academic buildings across campus, but the residence halls have also seen some improvements. Over winter break, some of the equipment replaced in Agenstein Hall went to replace older equipment in the residence halls.

All of these improvements to the university’s network were made possible due to the passage of Missouri House Bill 19, which last year allocated $4.8 million to Missouri Western for deferred maintenance projects across campus. Around $950,000 of that funding went toward a project to improve the university’s network in academic buildings with more up-to-date equipment.

Manager of Information Technology Services for Network and PC Support Fred Nesslage has been working on the campus-wide network project since Oct. 30, 2015. He said that much of the project has been completed, but there is still work to do.

“We’ve addressed all [academic] buildings except Popplewell Hall, which is partially complete, and Spratt Hall and Looney,” Nesslage said.

Nesslage said that remaining work on Popplewell consists of installing some new fiber optics cables. Meanwhile, improvements to the network in Spratt and Looney will begin later this semester.

“Both Spratt and Looney require complete fiber optic replacement before we can replace the equipment,” Nesslage said. “We should be starting on Spratt next week, and Looney is going to require some outside contractors because of the construction of the building.”

Nesslage estimated that the work on Spratt will take a couple of weeks to complete, while Looney will take longer because of the contractor bidding process. While the project is still ongoing, Nesslage said that the improvement project to the university’s network is on schedule.

“It’s been pretty smooth,” Nesslage said. “We’ve had a couple of glitches here and there, just because the configurations of the new equipment is a little different from the old so we had to tweak some things, but otherwise it’s worked pretty well.”

The majority of the work has been on the wired portion of the university’s network and not the Wi-Fi. Nesslage said that the work currently being done will likely not impact the wireless internet, but the wired portion should be more reliable now.

“It’s mostly just the wired,” Nesslage said. “I don’t think that the Wi-Fi itself will be impacted, other than that it depends on the wired for connectivity.”

There is some discussion on future improvements to the school’s network and Wi-Fi, Nesslage said.

“We don’t have any formal plans yet,” Nesslage said. “But over the break I installed a pilot for some upgrades to the wireless in Scanlon Hall and we’re going to monitor that for a couple weeks and see how well that works in that particular location and then come up with a plan to overhaul the wireless in Scanlon, as well as Leaverton and Vaselakos. Those are our three biggest problems for the Wi-Fi in the residence halls.”

Only time and more money will tell if any more improvements are in the future for Missouri Western’s internet.