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Note: This column is part of a semi-regular feature that highlights current events in UIT's network operations group.

Network News: Pilot bumps UConnect network to 5GHz

By Jesse Drake

To cut down on digital noise crowding our networks, UIT rolled out a pilot change in September to the UConnect network in 102 Tower, transitioning UConnect to a 5GHz-only network.

UConnect is currently a dual-band network, meaning devices connect on either 5GHz or 2.4GHz frequencies. However, statistics indicate that many 5GHz-capable devices choose a suboptimal 2.4GHz connection over 5GHz.

2.4GHz connections are slower and less reliable due to common interfering devices, such as microwaves, Bluetooth devices and cordless phones. UIT's knowledge article on WiFi best practices provides more examples of peripheral devices that interfere with network connections. Because such devices aren't going to bother people using the 5GHz spectrum, network performance should improve with faster data rates, fewer disconnects, and a more enjoyable experience.

Cisco and Apple recently published a joint recommendation in favor of 5GHz-only networks for enterprise wireless local area networks (LANs). Offering UConnect as a 5GHz-only network will eliminate the device negotiation between the two frequencies and improve the overall user experience. Please note that in a new 5GHz-only environment, devices that are only 2.4GHz-capable can no longer connect to UConnect, but can via UGuest or eduroam.

Subject to the outcome of the pilot, 5GHz may become the University's new baseline frequency.

Last Updated: 12/14/18