McKendree Invests in Massive WI-FI Upgrade

by Robert Watkins

Wireless internet coverage is an ongoing battle at any higher education institution. With new devices coming to market daily and the demand from streaming services surging just as fast, it is no surprise that the networks they connect to can struggle to keep up. However, when McKendree University heard from students late last year that wireless connections were poor, it listened and took action.

Data gathered from an annual survey reported that students were having issues with wireless connectivity at the McKendree West apartments. After analysis, the Information Technology Department revealed the issue with student resident connectivity resulted from a rapid increase in the number of devices per student. In 2013, the average number of devices per McKendree student was four; in 2019, it has jumped to an average of almost seven per student. This equates to more than 3,000 devices at the West apartments alone and more than 8,000 on the entire campus, ranging from cell phones and laptops to Smart outlets and Google Home devices.

Many institutions have instituted a cap on the number of devices a student may connect to the university’s network. McKendree has taken a different approach by allowing students to register all of their devices on the network.

“We believe that as technology grows and changes, our students should have the opportunity to grow and learn with it,” said George Kriss, director of information technology. “By supporting our students’ curiosity, we hope to help foster independent minds with critical thinking skills that can be transferrable into all walks of life."

In response to the demand for better wireless internet, McKendree purchased 100 new Wi-Fi access points to be installed throughout the West apartments and other knowndead spots” around campus. An access point is a device that provides the end user with a wireless internet connection. There are now more than 300,000 square feet of coverage at the residences, which is equal to more than five football fields worth!

“This issue would have neither been known nor fixed without the data students submitted on the annual survey,” Kriss pointed out.My job is to make your time at McKendree as enjoyable as possible from an IT standpoint. Please help me do that by being brutally honest on these surveys and letting HelpDesk know of any issues you experience. We can't fix it if we don't know about it.

The McKendree HelpDesk can be reached at (618) 537-6445 or by emailing for assistance with technology-related issues.


McKendree West

McKendree West Apartments