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The North Wind

The North Wind

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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Deirdre Northrup-Riesterer April 17, 2024

    City, NMU partner to improve WiMax

    Northern Michigan University teamed up with Marquette City Council to increase the WiMax network for students, faculty and staff across Marquette.

    “This is a win-win situation,” said Al Hawker, city information technology director. “Any time you can enter into an agreement like that, I think it’s a positive thing for the community.”

    In order to improve WiMax coverage from 90 percent to closer to 100 percent, Northern had to increase the number of base stations throughout the city. These locations include on the fire station at the corner of Front and Prospect Streets and the other is on Mountain water tank which is located near Bothwell.

    “The base stations were necessary due to terrain, trees and other ground clutter in the city that impedes wireless communications,” said Dave Maki, chief technology officer at NMU.

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    According to Maki, these improvements will increase the amount of usable network by nearly 10 percent, making it easier for more students to access the network.
    “Students living in these areas should be able to access the WiMax network indoors, above ground, outdoors, and in a vehicle,” said Maki.

    In exchange for use of the city buildings, city officials have asked for use of the WiMax network. The network will be used initially by emergency vehicles to facilitate in license plate look-ups and verifying fire hydrant locations.

    Eventually, use of the WiMax network will be expanded to more city officials, but this will happen as soon as they receive the technology to do so. Although citizens of Marquette who are not students at Northern are not able to access the network, city officials are allowed to for operational uses.

    According to Cindy Paavola, director of communications at Northern, the money for these improvements has already been accounted for in the technology infrastructure budget, but they had to wait to make these changes for approval by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) which had allotted Northern a certain amount of bandwidth, and Northern had to ask for permission to put up extra antennas.

    “When we launched WiMax, we said that we had about 90 percent of the city covered,” Paavola said. “So our goal all along was to continue to try to get coverage into that last ten percent. And (these changes) may not be perfect, up to the 100 percent, but we’re closer.”

    Maki said that students who are on campus and can access the WiFi network should do so because it is much stronger than the WiMax network.

    “On campus, WiFi provides access in lecture halls to 100 – 250 users at speeds of up to 80 mbps, while the WiMax network is designed to provide access to individuals in homes or apartments at speeds of up to 5 mbps,” Maki said.

    While the major antennas are all installed, the antenna on the fire station will be in service on Friday, Sept. 18.