The Board of Trustees approved a $6 million capital project to upgrade the campus technology network at last its meeting last Thursday, according to a March 31 BrandeisNOW article. In an interview with the Justice, Director of Networks and Systems John Turner said that the plan consists of strengthening the technology signal rather than extending the network's coverage.

The network currently covers all University buildings and residence halls, Turner said.

Turner said that the upgrade will revamp both the wireless and non-wireless networks.

"What our studies have shown is that the biggest impact will be on wireless, because we have just way more people connecting via wireless," he said.

The upgrade, which will begin in residence halls over the summer, is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2012, Turner said.

"We will complete the dorm upgrades before the students come back, and as soon as we're done with the dorms, we're going to start on the [Shapiro] Campus Center, the library, basically all the high-profile areas where a lot of students gather and study and things," Turner said.

A $10 million capital lease agreement will finance both the technology network upgrade and the renovation of Linsey pool, Senior Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Fran Drolette wrote in an e-mail to the Justice.

The term of the lease is seven years, and the annual interest expense for it is expected to be $150 thousand per year, she wrote.

Drolette also wrote that the annual principal payments of about $1.3 million will be funded through the capital budget.

"The University is in a comfortable position to adequately cover the costs of the capital lease," Drolette wrote.

Turner said that LTS has been aware of technology network coverage issues in residence halls.

"That's an area that we heavily hear weekly, and we try to do as much as we can with the limited budget that we have, but we really can't expand it much beyond what it is today," he said.

In an interview with the Justice, Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins said that it is also necessary to upgrade the network because "the numbers of mobile devices that people are carrying, whether they're iPads, laptops, phones, videos, all of that stuff has just grown enormously over the past few years."

"For us to provide what we feel is the appropriate level of service that we need to provide to our students, our faculty, our staff, our business operations, our academic operations, it was time to upgrade this network," Collins said.

The network was last upgraded in 2004, according to the BrandeisNOW article.

Turner said that the demand for network resources is likely to double in the next five to six years.

If the campus network is upgraded, in the future, LTS "can handle even more [demand for network coverage] by adding small incremental changes to the network," he said.

Turner said that LTS is "more concerned" about the functionality of equipment used to connect a computer to the campus network.

"The network isn't just that wireless access point or the port that you plug your computer to in the wired; it's all the electronics that go between there and the Internet. And we've seen increased failures in those, going from very few a year up to as high as 30 a year," he said.

--Brian Fromm, Fiona Lockyer and Andrew Wingens contributed reporting.