AirBear Wireless Network Debuts at Baylor

Feb. 12, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University faculty, staff and students can now connect their laptop computers to the Internet without being wired to an office, lab or a room in a residence hall.

Baylor's new wireless data network, AirBear, is now available in Moody, Jones and Poage libraries, and in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

"This is another way that information technology can be employed as a tool to help faculty, staff and students do their work in a academic setting," said Carl Flynn, assistant ResNet support coordinator in Baylor's Information Technology Center (ITC). "The wired network will always be available, but AirBear gives everyone more freedom and convenience to move and work around campus."

An extension of the main campus network, AirBear is free to anyone with a valid Bear ID and password. However, users must first purchase a wireless ethernet card, which is available at Baylor's campus computer store, and download the free network authentication (NetAuth) software from the AirBear web site.

"Once a laptop is properly configured, students, faculty and staff can sit in any coverage area, such as right outside the coffee shop in the student center, and connect to the network," Flynn said. "They can work on a project, do research, download homework and check e¡mail whenever they're near any access point. It might not be as fast a connection as a hard¡wired network, but it is faster than a 56K modem."

Coverage areas include the garden level and first, second and third floors of Moody Library; the first and second floors of Jones Library; the second floor of Poage Library; and the first, second and third floors of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Future expansions of AirBear to other areas of campus are currently in the planning stages.

Ranked 87th among America's Most Wired Colleges 2000 by Yahoo! Internet Life, Baylor is one of several institutions expanding its services to employ wireless technology, Flynn said. Two universities he noted ¡ Drew University in Madison, N.J., and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh¡ have implemented completely wireless networks across their campuses. In Texas, Rice University in Houston has wireless capabilities for use at several areas on campus. Big 12 universities, such as the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University, are in the process of implementing some wireless computer technology, but it is not yet available, according to each university's technology information centers.

For more information on AirBear, including campus coverage maps and set up, visit the AirBear web site at http://www.baylor.edu/~airbear/ or contact Chris Lemon, ResNet support coordinator in ITC, at (254) 710¡4550 or ResNet_Comments@baylor.edu.

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