Wireless Services - Availability

Wireless Availability within the Department

The Computing Team have made every effort to make OWL as "ubiquitous" as possible, within the constraints of the budget. However, there are limits to what we have been able to make available. As a Department, we are resident in five (5) buildings. We now discuss the wireless provision in each of these.

1 South Parks Road.
Signal strong areas are the Lecture Theatre, the Seminar Room, the Teaching Room, the MSc Lab, some Professorial offices and the Common Room. The survey was designed to optimise signal strength in these areas. There is, however, a good coverage of this building. Some outlying offices will have a weak (or at times non-existant) signal. This is due to the unusual shape in parts of the building.

2 South Parks Road.
The survey was designed to optimise signal strength for the Meeting Room (113). See the floorplan maps for details of the coverage. Bear in mind that coverage can be affected by the number of people in the building, or close to the Wireless Access Point ("basestation" or "WAP").

NOTE: The hazy "cloud" in each of these pictures represeants the leakage of signal between the wooden floors of the building. The signal leakage is (fortunately) quite extensive, for instance the Computing Manager can pick up a reasonably good signal from the top floor WAP from his office.

As a multi-disciplinary building, implementing OWL here was somewhat political and required a certain amount of negotiation between Statistics, Physiology, Human Anatomy and OUCS. With this concluded we have decided to provide wireless "hotspots" in Prof. Donnelly's office (30.33 - request to the Computing Committee over a year earlier) and the main lecture room on the top floor. Physiology and Human Anatomy may well provide their own WAPs at some future point, but since it was agreed that Statistics will manage the OWL infrastructure we should be informed about these and we will include locations as they appear. Please note, because of the steel structure of the building, there is very little leakage of signal between floors, so there is almost no connectivity between the floors.

Peter Medawar.
This building, until recently was suffering from a desperate need for network upgrade. We have upgraded the core infrastructure and provided extra switches for OWL. In the early part of 2007, OUCS implemented FroDo and a few months later we, working with Mr. David Newburn of IMSU implemented the first wireless connectivity in the Medawar. The Medawar's structure isn't quite so "steely" as in the OCGF, so there is a small amount of connectivity between WAPs on different floors, although it's a little hard to fully quantify and varies quite a bit. The other thing to note is the curious effect of the inner "quad". The walls are supporting and double thickness and this seems to distort the reach of the Wireless signal quite noticeably. The WAPs have been purchased between Statistics and IMSU.

Observatory Annexe.
We have a number of laboratories in this building. Previously, the networking in this building was entirely owned by Physiology. As a consequence of work by the Statistics and Human Anatomy IT teams, we have run cabling to access both our own VLANs and the OWL VLANs from a nearby FroDo in Security Services. This building can run OWL, but at present there are no WAPs there.