Baylor Makes Intel's 'Most Unwired Colleges Campuses' List For Wireless Computer Access

April 8, 2004

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University is one of only three Texas universities named in Intel Corporation's "Most Unwired College Campuses" survey that ranks the top 100 schools for wireless computing access.

Baylor made the list at number 32, while the University of Texas was rated third in the survey and Trinity University in San Antonio 74th. The survey cited Indiana University as the nation's top overall wireless campus.

Baylor's wireless network - known as AirBear - currently covers 90-95 percent of the university's academic buildings, as well as commons areas in residence halls and outdoor locations such as Fountain Mall and the Baylor Marina. AirBear is free to Baylor students, faculty and staff with a valid Bear ID and password and allows them to connect their laptop computers to the Internet without being tied to an office, a computer lab or residence hall room.

"Wireless connectivity provides electronic resources anywhere on campus - classrooms, libraries and even the baseball stadium," said Dr. Reagan Ramsower, Baylor's chief information officer and dean of libraries. "Creating a secure and encrypted wireless network accessible only by authorized individuals has encouraged students to purchase laptop computers. In the last two years the percentage of laptops owned by entering freshmen has gone from under one-third to more than 80 percent, and today you see students using their laptops everywhere on campus."

For students who do not own a laptop computer, Baylor has machines available for check out at the Prichard Family Information Commons on the second floor of Moody Memorial Library and at the information commons in the Stacy Riddle Forum.

In July last year, Baylor became one of the first universities to complete an extensive network upgrade to 802.1x, the latest standard in security and information technology. With 802.1x, AirBear users at Baylor log in through a program on their computer instead of a web site, making the process more user-friendly while maintaining highest security.

This is the first year that Intel has expanded its "Most Unwired Cities" survey to include a look at the college campuses with the greatest wireless Internet accessibility. The college findings were based on the number of hotspots, the number of undergraduates, number of computers and the computer-to-student ratio. The results also were based on the percentage of each college campus that is covered by wireless technology. The data was collected from university interviews and documents, and a variety of industry sources.

The survey was conducted by Bert Sperling, a researcher who specializes in collecting and analyzing data for the nationally known "Best Places" surveys.

Intel said the college survey reveals a growing number of schools across the country where students have the freedom to wirelessly access the Internet on notebook PCs - without a traditional wired connection - and stay connected and informed whether they are in a residence hall, library or outdoors at the campus quad.

For more information, contact Ramsower at (254) 710-8788 or Bob Hartland, director of of IT servers and networking services, at (254) 710-4355.

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