Students in the union at West Liberty University accessing campus wide Wi-Fi.
The overhaul of the system was completed during the summer of 2017, in time for students returning for the fall semester. And the difference in reliability and speed is night and day.
“It’s 10 times better,” said Quinton Jones, a junior football player from Columbus, Ohio. “The Wi-Fi last year was very glitchy, very in and out. Somebody might want to turn in an assignment and the Wi-Fi [would go out] and they’d have to resubmit it again and again, and this year it’s just a one-time thing. You submit it and it’s good to go.”
Prior to the upgrade, there were 120 wireless access points on the campus northeast of Wheeling, some of which were 10 to 12 years old and no longer supported.
“Students would come to me and talk to me about the inability to get Wi-Fi in certain parts of campus so that instantly became our No. 1 priority,” said West Liberty University President Dr. Stephen Greiner, adding, “and Dagostino Electronic Services was the perfect answer for us.”
DES installed 372 new access points as part of the project, bringing wireless internet access to every single classroom, conference room, social space and area where faculty might want to instruct, and students learn, both inside and outside.
There are access points in each of the seven on-campus residence halls, in the basketball arena and at the football stadium and surrounding tailgating area.
An Alcatel-Lucent access point on the campus of West Liberty University.
Faculty members can easily play video or host interactive video sessions because each classroom now has its own access point. Hallway access points were shared by classrooms on the old system.
“Under the new system, they are connected at a very high rate of speed,” said James Clark, chief technology officer at the university, adding, “Everything that they need to do on the web is now active, alert and responsive.”
“Our faculty and students are tremendously excited about the new technology on campus,” added President Greiner. “They’re comforted knowing we have a safe and secure system in place.”
The university’s network is protected by Fortinet’s high-performance security platform.
Another perk? The complaints have stopped!
“The instant benefit is I no longer hear from students that we need to enhance our technology services,” said Greiner.
Not only does the Wi-Fi create a better experience for students, faculty and staff, it helps the university attract potential students like freshman zoo science major Lindsey Pinkerton.
“When I was looking at this school [wireless internet] was something that was very important to me mainly because I live far away I want to be able to stay in contact with my family,” said Pinkerton, who grew up about two hours away outside of Akron, Ohio.
Clark said, “We can now speak confidently with students as we recruit them that we have the best Wi-Fi for a college of our size anywhere in the United States.”
When deciding on an integrator, West Liberty University ultimately turned to DES because their solution redeployed much of the university’s existing fiber that was failing, helping the project stay on budget.
The fiber splicing panel at West Liberty University.
“Dagostino had a unique and proprietary solution by reimaging and reengineering the existing fiber optics,” Clark said, adding, “Most of the other competitors proposed replacement of fiber, which was an extraordinary expense.”
West Liberty University was also confident DES could complete the job efficiently, without the use of subcontractors, and on time.
Clark said, “They convinced us, as we went through the process, they were the only firm that responded actively and economically to the need that was presented.”
“Working with Dagostino Electronic Services has just been such an easy process for us,” said Greiner. “From the beginning, the cooperation, the collaboration, and also finding things that we didn’t know. We thought we knew everything that was wrong with our system and they were able to find some other things [that were wrong] and give us the advice to be able to take this institution to the next level.”
“I have never experienced such a well-organized company as DES,” said Bob Oglinsky, who managed the project for West Liberty University. “I’ve been through many cutovers, but this certainly has been the most successful that I have ever seen. Everyone involved from start to finish was totally involved in the process and always readily provided assistance when changes needed to be made.”
DES also provides ongoing support to West Liberty University, monitoring their network performance to ensure it is continuously operating at a high level.
“We’ve migrated from a very minimal environment to the best in class,” said Clark. “We are able now to make very positive statements about our Wi-Fi in the year 2017 and beyond. And Dagostino Electronic Services made that happen.”
In addition to the data and wireless network with products manufactured by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and Fortinet, DES upgraded the phone system at West Liberty University to an ALE IP-based phone system, further future-proofing the university for years to come.
Established in 1837, West Liberty University is a four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution.
Today it offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs including master’s in education, physician assistant studies, criminology, biology, professional studies and an online MBA.
The school has an enrollment of about 2,500.
Pittsburgh-based Dagostino Electronic Services, Inc. designs, sells, installs and maintains communication systems for voice, data, security, surveillance, multimedia and structured cabling.
Founded in 1973, DES is the preferred technology provider of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
DES was named one of Pittsburgh’s fastest growing companies in 2017 for the second year in a row.