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Vol. 65, No. 2

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Wires? Why Bother?

Daryl DuLong '03 goes wireless.

Jon Dashkoff í06 sat under an oak tree on the Eastman Quadrangle on a shimmering fall afternoon, powered up his laptop, and went online to search for photographs of molecules that he needed for a class.

It was, he said, too nice a day to have to stay inside. And thanks to a new initiative to bring wireless technology to Rochester, Dashkoff can leave the wires behind and remain as plugged in as if he were sitting at a terminal in a computing center.

"Itís just easier than plugging into a wall," he says. "Out here, you get the best of both worlds."

Dashkoff, a biology major, was one of many early adopters taking advantage of a pilot test of wireless Internet service, sponsored by Information Technology Services, that got under way with the start of the fall semester.

The service, based on the wireless 802.11b—or "WiFi"—standard, is part of a five-year plan to make the River Campus more mobile-friendly. The first phase is centered at Rush Rhees Library and covers the Eastman Quadrangle, Wilson Commons, and the library, with plans to expand the service to include classrooms and lecture halls.

Students, faculty, and staff can use WiFi-compliant laptops and PDAs within the coverage area to access the Internet, check e-mail, or update online calendars.

"The goal is to create environments where the physical elements are no longer obstacles," says Jeanette Metzger, project manager of the effort. "Itís a whole new way of thinking about technology."

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