Work is underway this summer to bring comprehensive, high-performance, wireless network coverage to Virginia Tech's residence halls.

The Residential Network Upgrade project will provide wireless coverage using technology designed to support speeds up to 850 megabits per second in all residence hall rooms along with a single, wired, 1 gigabit per second Ethernet connection per room. Lounges and many other public areas will also have wireless coverage.

Virginia Tech's Network Infrastructure and Services, in partnership with Housing and Residence Life, provides the technology services offered to students in Virginia Tech’s residence halls, including cable television, telephone service, and network connectivity.  These services are provided as part of a bundled amenity package. However, to align with residents’ preferences, significant changes are being made to the package this summer and fall.

Bringing wireless coverage to the residence halls includes the design, planning, and installation of approximately 1,800 wireless access points in 34 residential buildings on campus along with the upgrade of all Ethernet access switches that furnish power and connections to Virginia Tech’s computing network. This work will result in most residential buildings receiving at least a tenfold increase in speed on the link between the building and Virginia Tech’s core network.

Additionally, with the ubiquity of cell phones, most students no longer expect traditional telephone service to be provided.

As a separate project, the university is removing the phones from residents’ rooms and will install emergency phones on each floor of the residence halls. Resident Advisors and live-in staff will still have access to conventional telephone service. Subscription to a residential analog line will be available for residents who prefer to use traditional telephone devices.

Most residence halls will have Wi-Fi before the fall semester. The rest, except for Thomas and Monteith which aren't part of the project, will receive these updates by December.

For more information and building-by-building project status, visit the Network Infrastructure and Services website.

Written by Jeff Kidd