Apple AirBear Statement

February 15, 2008
To campus Apple computer users:

We in ITS take very seriously the current problems you are having connecting your computer to AirBear when running the Leopard operating system. We know this difficulty is inconveniencing many students, faculty, and staff, and that it is affecting the completion of assignments and as well as other Internet access.

The relevant facts of this situation are these:

  • Baylor has been investing in a campus wireless network for a number of years. Generally, colleges and universities were among the first institutions to begin providing wireless access. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent at Baylor on this infrastructure and, as would be expected, parts of it are aging. The AirBear network is made up of a combination of older and newer access point technologies.
  • Apple laptops were able to connect to AirBear without major problems when running OS version 10.4.
  • With the release of OS 10.5 in which the entire network connection implementation was re-written, major connection issues arose. Many universities reported these issues to Apple. Apple acknowledged the problem and promised a solution.
  • Units running 10.5 have been able to connect only very sporadically to AirBear and only where the access points are of the newer technology.
  • The Internet Connect module from OS 10.4 will allow connectivity when installed on units running 10.5.x. This module can be provided on an individual basis by contacting ITS Help Desk or visiting our ITS Shop location in the 5th Street parking garage.
  • The just released OS version 10.5.2 appears to work more consistently with the newer access point technology than did previous versions. However, much of our campus is still covered by the older technology.
  • Significant funding is being allocated this spring for AirBear network upgrades and this will be a key priority for ITS. While renewing and upgrading the existing network infrastructure is a continuing ITS priority, complete replacement of the older technology is also limited by available ITS staff time and the need for resources to expand the AirBear network coverage by adding additional access points.
  • Finally, all in higher education, as well as Baylor's contacts at Apple, agree that the Apple units should be able to connect to both the old and new access points, as they did in OS 10.4.

ITS will continue to work closely with Apple on this situation, emphasizing to them the importance of a solution that will allow users of their technology to fully utilize the Baylor AirBear network. We will also continue to update the ITS website with information on this issue.

Becky King
Associate Vice President for Information Technology
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