Hawk Wi-Fi upgraded this month

The University of North Carolina Wilmington plans on obtaining a faster form of wireless internet browsing, pending approval at the UNC-General Administration level.

Hawk Wi-Fi has become the root of many UNCW students’ frustrations due to inactivity. From the inability to maintain connection to Hawk Wi-Fi on certain parts of campus to the numerous treks to TAC at the back of Randall Library, the news of a faster form of UNCW wireless internet connection could mean less stress for people on campus.

The new Hawk Wi-Fi will offer a better connection for students. The newer access points will provide higher speed, the ability to handle more users, and expansion of coverage in areas that haven’t acquired optimal access.

Jeff Hunnicutt of Information Technology Systems says that “The current Hawk Wi-Fi is operational now and the current authentication method will remain with a UNCW id required to get on the network,” meaning that Hawk Wi-Fi, though improved, will require the same login information as it currently does.

“The impetus was to buy newer technology that offers more speed and expansive coverage on campus,” said Hunnicutt, “the wireless is one component of a larger project, which also includes replacement of all access layer switches on campus.”

Hunnicutt admitted that Cisco Systems will remain as UNCW’s vendor for wireless equipment, however this purchase of a faster form of Hawk Wi-Fi is still pending approval.

According to Hunnicutt, funding came from a variety of sources including: Student Affairs, ITS and the Education & Technology fee associated with tuition.

“An increase in the Exchange- Traded Fund for this purpose was endorsed by the Student Government Association, the university’s Tuition and Fee Committee, and the UNCW Board of Trustees,” Hunnicutt said. “It then was approved by the UNC Board of Governors at their February 2015 meeting.”

Hawk Wi-Fi proved to be an issue for several UNCW students throughout the year. UNCW Freshman Amanda Harrison remembers the difficulty she had while attempting to connect to Hawk Wi-Fi during her move-in.

“I honestly cannot count how many times I had to go to TAC to have my computer looked at because it refused to stay connected to the school’s wireless connection,” Harrison said. “My dad could not even figure it out when he came down to try and fix it.”

Student Meagan Bellamy was ecstatic when she learned about the improved Hawk Wi-Fi UNCW would be receiving next year. “Oh thank God! I used to get so frustrated with Hawk Wi-Fi and the lack of connectivity,” Bellamy said.

Nevertheless, students should be prepared for the caveats that come with changing technology. Hunnicutt explained that there may be downtime as new wireless is deployed. However, it’s planned that most of the rollout of new equipment will occur at night, but students should still prepare for downtime.

“Downtime is no problem,” said Bellamy, “because at least we are finally getting Wi-Fi that has a better connection and caters to the growing size of UNCW.”