IS&T to work on Next House Wi-Fi, Ethernet

Process will involve converting bedrooms to telecommunication receiver spaces

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Allan and Danny Gelman ’20 in one of the two Next House doubles that IS&T will convert to telecom receiver rooms this summer. Their room is Khan Academy founder Sal Khan ’98’s former room.

Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) will begin construction in Next House to improve the Wi-Fi and Ethernet (collectively known as the “network”) this April and is projected to finish at the beginning of the fall semester. IS&T will convert two doubles on the third floor into telecom receiver spaces, Next House President Justina Yang ’19 said at the Next Exec meeting March 5.

In addition, IS&T will install cables in the walls on each floor and construct risers in the mini lounges this semester. Risers are closet-like structures that allow cables to run vertically between floors.

Next Exec has not yet been able to make plans in response to the decrease in the number of rooms for next year because the plans will depend on the Division of Student Life’s decisions, Blair Anaman-Williams ’21, Next House housing chair, wrote in an email to The Tech Wednesday. Anaman-Williams wrote that there are plans in place to ensure that the four individuals in the affected doubles will remain in Next House and in their wings.

Danny Gelman ’20, who lives in one of the third floor doubles that will be converted, told The Tech in an email Wednesday that one plan for replacing his room is to convert at least one triple on his floor back into a double.

Gelman’s room is the former room of Sal Khan ’98, founder of online education nonprofit Khan Academy. 

IS&T needs the two doubles for space for the network, cooling systems, and back power system, according to Yang. The cooling system is being upgraded to help prevent power outages, and will take significantly more space.

Yang also added that IS&T said they would allot extra space for a margin of error to plan for future needed changes as technology improves and students’ network needs increase. The Ethernet is being massively upgraded from the ten megabyte scale to the gigabit scale.

Some residents are unsure why IS&T requires the space of two doubles. Elijah Rivera ’19, a student in Course 6-3 who has worked with network systems, told The Tech that he does not believe that this much space could possibly be necessary. After IS&T shared a 430-word info sheet containing very few technical details, Rivera requested the complete technical specifications.

Yang said at the initial meeting Feb. 23 that she would have preferred it had IS&T been more communicative with Next Exec earlier on.

The cabling will take place on one wing at a time, lasting from four days to two weeks.

Ben Nguyen ’21, Next House judiciary committee chair, stated at the Next Exec meeting March 5 that he was concerned that residents of Next were not aware that the renovations would affect floors other than the third floor.

An outside company surveyed all the dorms in 2014 and found that Next House was among the worst five dorms in terms of network structure. According to Yang, IS&T is also conducting similar work (but on a smaller scale) at Simmons, and other dorms are likely to undergo a similar sort of improvement in the future.