Speed and Coverage Area

The Penn State Wireless service allows a college or department to create wireless networking areas in its building. OVPIT will design, implement, and maintain a dual-band 802.11n wireless netowrk. 802.11n refers to the series of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (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: 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. When attempting to use a wireless connection in an area where signal strength is weak, moving just a few feet may improve reception dramatically. In general, the closer to an access point, the better the signal.

Penn State Wireless provides data speeds 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. An important note: the speed of Penn State Wireless 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 to match applications with the bandwidth available. Wireless should NOT be used for high-performance computing or bandwidth intensive multi-media applications. However, it works well as a complementary service for the common, low-bandwidth applications mentioned.