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New PAL 3.0 offers faster, denser, safer Wi-Fi coverage

Purdue Air Link 3.0, the newest wireless network deployed as part of ITaP’s campus-wide initiative to offer faster, denser and safer Wi-Fi service to the University community, should make for fewer “dead” or hard-to-reach Wi-Fi spots in campus buildings and minimize device compatibility issues for those who have had trouble in the past.

Roughly 50 percent of the University’s buildings already have been upgraded with new wireless access points for PAL 3.0, with the remaining buildings expected to be upgraded by the end of 2012.

PAL 3.0 offers faster speeds, better security and more widespread coverage than PAL 2.0, which will run concurrently with PAL 3.0 during and after the upgrade.

While a minimal number of older devices may not be compatible with the new network, Jeff Schwab, ITaP’s director of data networking, encourages users to transition to PAL 3.0 as it becomes available to take advantage of its ability to deliver the range and capacity to support today’s most bandwidth-hungry applications

“The average building will have three times the access points it did before,” Schwab says. “PAL 3.0 also uses the highest grade encryption available for 802.11 wireless networks to help keep data protected from unauthorized access."

“Most students aren’t plugging in anymore,” Schwab adds. “We need to support their mobility by offering faster, better and denser wireless coverage. Researchers, faculty and staff also have wireless needs, so we want to make sure that everyone can take advantage of these state-of-the-art technologies.”

Dave Chasey, director of the veterinary computer network in the School of Veterinary Medicine, says the new access points in Lynn Hall — one of the first buildings to be upgraded — have been working well.

“We ran a test on the new access points about a month ago and had more than 100 simultaneous connections active with no problem,” Chasey says. “The test we ran was a simple online survey that did not require much bandwidth per user, but connections were maintained. We only had one connection drop, but that was a user’s device issue. While we don’t have much experience with it yet, PAL 3.0 looks good so far.”

In buildings where installation is complete, PAL 3.0 should show up in the list of available wireless networks on mobile devices. Simply click or tap on the PAL 3.0 SSID and enter career account credentials to connect. Xpress Connect is available to help individuals connect their devices to new networks and may be accessed by connecting to the “PAL Setup” wireless network, opening a browser and then visiting any website.

For more detailed information, read the Gold Answers article about PAL 3.0. A list of buildings that currently offer PAL 3.0 coverage also is available on the knowledge base.

Writer: Andrea Thomas, ITaP technology writer, 765-496-8204, thomas78@purdue.edu

Sources: Dave Chasey, 765-494-1155, n9fn@purdue.edu

Mike Rubesch, executive director of IT systems and operations and interim executive director of networking and telecommunications, 765-496-8308, mrubesch@purdue.edu

Jeff Schwab, 765-496-8283, jrs@purdue.edu

Last updated: Feb. 14, 2012