Speed and Coverage Area
Penn State Wireless is a service provided to colleges or departments that will create wireless networking areas in your building. ITS will design, implement and maintain a dual-band 802.11n wireless netowrk. 802.11n refers to the series of IEEE standards developed for wireless networks. 802.11n is the latest in that series of standards and operates in two frequency bands. The 5GHz band uses 40Mhz wide channels to achieve transfer speeds up to 300Mb/s. The 2.4 GHz band uses traditional 20MHz wide channels for a maximum transfer rate of 130Mb/s. 802.11n is compatible with the older 802.11a and 802.11g standards.
Note that the wireless signal in some buildings may extend to adjacent outside areas. Solid objects between the access point and the wireless user can dampen the signal. Interference may occur from the building’s walls, ceilings, metal, furniture, and even people. If you are attempting to use a wireless connection in an area where signal strength is weak, moving your laptop just a few feet may improve your reception dramatically. In general, the closer you are to an access point, the better your signal.
Penn State Wireless provides data speeds that are sufficient for the most common LAN-based applications like email exchanges, access to printers, Web browsing, and access to multi-user databases and applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. It’s important to note that the speed of Penn State Wireless, however, can fluctuate significantly depending on the number of simultaneous users and the applications being used.
Penn State Wireless is not a substitute for the higher-speed wired connections on campus, so it’s important for you to match your applications with the bandwidth that’s available. Wireless shouldn't be used for high-performance computing or bandwidth intensive multi-media applications. But it works great as a complementary service for the common, low bandwidth, applications mentioned above.