Students across the Columbia Basin College campus are getting better Internet connections with some help from Battelle.
The company responsible for running the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory donated $70,000 to the college’s $350,000 project to replace the system.
The college is about 60 percent through the project, which allows students to connect to the Internet in classrooms at both the Pasco and Richland campuses.
Brian Dexter, the college’s assistant vice president for infrastructure services, explained that the new hardware and software replaces a system installed about 12 years ago.
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The previous system was designed for students carrying fewer devices that used the wireless system. It was installed shortly before smartphones and tablets were introduced to the public.
“It was starting to show its age,” he said. “It could not keep up with the demands of the current and future instructional needs.”
For example, each of the access points was designed to handle traffic from roughly 20 devices, and the new ones can connect with 125 devices.
“The thing to think about is today’s students carry two to three devices each,” he said. “You can’t just say you’ve got 40 students, so that’s 40 devices that they’re operating.”
The new system increases connection speeds, so students are able to access resources on an internal network or online.
The ability to connect more students in more classrooms allows instructors to use the Internet as a more effective teaching tool, Dexter said.
Battelle’s donation supports the college’s cybersecurity program. The college recently began offering a bachelor’s of applied science in the program, company officials said.
“The impact that this donation will continue to have at CBC is incredible,” Dexter said. “This donation underscores Battelle’s commitment to the educational experience at CBC.”