Dr Uday Salunkhe, Director, Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Mumbai and Bangalore, spoke to Rachita Jha on the importance of WiFi and other tools of connectivity play in the process of teaching
Tell us the reasons for which you have invested in WiFi technology for the campus?
WiFi serves a very important purpose of linking faculty with students as well as with one another. It leads to the creation of the necessary infrastructure for faculty engagement. It supports both: formal and informal learning and communications among all on the campus. For most students, the WiFi networks are the primary way of connecting while on the campus. Seamless access to email, and other avenues of learning, can dramatically change the way our students go about their academic pursuits. WiFi can lead to a convergance between voice and video, while liberating the students from the constraints of location. WiFi is also easy for the administration to manage as they have to manage only one central Access Point (AP).
How did you decide on the company to install WiFi technology on campus?
We looked at a company that had the capabilities to accommodate a wide range of devices as technology keeps evolving. Technology is not only fast paced, it also springs surprises. Also, for a company that could offer a good backend support.
Tell us more about the wireless network at Welingkar campus.
Our institutions is one of the first WiFi enabled campuses (2001) with a proper data centre, a Giga Ethernet backbone and enterprise backend solutions. WiFi comes with the speed of 54 mbps. One AP and can cater around 90 students at a time. There are around 35 APs. The Institute has a 10 mbps Internet bandwidth with backup arrangements to ensure minimum downtime. Students using their own laptops and other devices such as tablet PCs can avail of the Internet through the WiFi from any place on the campus.
In what ways is the technology helping the students?
- Students can roam around the campus and still be in touch with their class. They can be reached through Internet whenever required.
- The WiFi systems are also enabling video conferencing and audio video lectures. In our distance learning programmes with the virtual classroom facility, technology has almost nullified the distance. We are accessible to our students worldwide at a click.
- Global events like Global Jam Session which saw a concurrent participation of entrepreneurs and innovators from around 40 nations went on swimmingly; now talent sharing is not constrained by geography. Web has given a virtual global platform to talent in all domains.
- Welingkar’s IT has the wherewithal to conduct online synchronised training sessions and online exams. Each class room is also equipped with a PC, Projector and audio devices. Some of the classrooms are also enabled with Video Conference.
- Admissions, placements internship all these require students to be well-connected. We have some very reputed companies that have been recruiting via video conferencing on campus.
What are the key challenges in the use and adoption of Wi-Fi on campus?
Setting up a campus-wide WiFi system has its share of challenges. Security is a big area of concern. We are trying our best to prevent any unauthorised access to the network.
There should be streamlined inbuilt channels for each individual user within the network. Welingkar does have this facility but it has to be further updated. Other concerns include coverage, capacity and density.//