man drives construction vehicle digging hole in Oval

Twenty-eight Wi-Fi access points are being installed across the Oval as part of Ohio State’s Wireless Expansion Project. Credit: Sarah Szilagy | Campus Editor

Ohio State students will soon be able to tune into Zoom lectures from their favorite spots on the Oval.

Twenty-eight Wi-Fi access points are being installed across the Oval as part of the university’s Wireless Expansion Project, Mike Hiatt, director of enterprise networking at the university, said. The majority of the work will be completed by Christmas, but students can use the increased connectivity on the Oval as soon as October.

“It’s not like a building where you wait until the end and they open the building,” Hiatt said. “When they get fired and powered, they come online. That’s the beauty of it.”

The access points are installed on top of lamp posts across the Oval, Hiatt said. Fiber-optic cables are threaded through the ground and up each post to provide the connection. To avoid digging trenches across the greenspace to lay the cables, the team uses a process called horizontal boring, which limits the digging to a few key points. Some cables are also tied into the preexisting tunnel system.

“Despite all of this maintenance work, the only impact to customers will be better connectivity and the ability to connect in new places,” Randi Honkonen, senior communications strategist for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, said in the 2018 press release announcing the project.

The installation of the new access points will not negatively affect current connectivity, Hiatt confirmed.

As part of the Wireless Expansion Project, internet coverage at Ohio State has increased since fall 2018, Honkonen said in a November 2019 press release. Finished parts of the project include Wi-Fi at Ohio Stadium, extension offices and other academic and recreational spaces across Ohio State’s campuses.