Colorado State University Launches Wireless Library Network Based On 3Com's Leading-Edge AirConnect Wireless LAN Solution

Colorado State University Launches Wireless Library Network Based On 3Com's Leading-Edge AirConnect Wireless LAN Solution

Equipment Donated by 3Com Expedites Student Research, Expands Access To University Computing Resources and the Internet

3Com Corporation (Nasdaq:COMS) announced today that Colorado State University (CSU) has implemented the 3Com(R) AirConnect(R) wireless local area network (LAN) in the main library of the school's Fort Collins campus. The new wireless network allows students with laptop computers to collaborate and conduct research via online academic resources and the Internet at up to 11 megabits per second (Mbps) from almost any location in the five-story Morgan Library. As part of the AirConnect solution, 3Com Consulting Services provided CSU with a complementary site survey to ensure a painless installation of the new system. "By implementing 3Com's wireless LAN, we can offer students fast, library-wide access to the Internet and other educational resources that significantly enrich their learning experience at our university," said Julie Wessling, assistant dean for public services in the CSU libraries. "The AirConnect solution allows them to readily find computer resources within the library." With more than 22,000 students and approximately 1,400 faculty, CSU boasts nationally-ranked agriculture, forestry, engineering and occupational therapy programs as well as a renowned veterinary school. However, like many universities, CSU's ability to give students access to leading-edge computing resources is limited by budgetary constraints and growing demands for systems in computer labs and libraries by students without computers of their own. Using 3Com's new wireless LAN, CSU can now affordably provide students and library staff with fast, reliable access to library resources, university services and the Internet -- whether they're sitting in a remote corner of the library or in a central location. CSU will also lend university-owned laptops equipped with 3Com wireless PC Cards to students without computers of their own, significantly expanding their access to research materials. Using the AirConnect network and a Web browser, students can quickly connect to the university's Web site, which offers resources such as RAMweb (named after the school's athletic mascot) -- an online student services utility that lets students view and update their financial and academic records. The wireless LAN further provides convenient access to the library's 400-plus browser-accessible databases, which contain abstracts and full-text journal articles on a wide range of subjects. Students can also leverage the wireless network to access CSU's online library catalog to rapidly reserve books, extend borrowing time, browse new book acquisitions and arrange interlibrary loans -- even while standing before a shelf of books their research requires. CSU's new wireless LAN emanated from the school's need to maximize the number of computers available to students while connecting the newly renovated Morgan Library, a center of campus activity, to the university's high-speed network. Although CSU initially considered DSL and other hardwired networking options, library officials felt strongly that the mobility of wireless access best fit their goal of providing the most convenient information access possible. In the future, CSU plans to install an AirConnect access point in the library's storage facility elsewhere on campus, enabling staff to use laptops to add items to the library catalog, update older records and facilitate other behind-the-scenes projects to improve access to CSU's more than two million volumes. "Thanks to 3Com, we're able to provide the benefits of online resources to all of our students flexibly, inexpensively and above all, regardless of whether they can afford computer equipment," Wessling said.

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