Understanding the Use of a Campus Wireless Network
Mobile, Wireless, and Sensor Networks
Introduction The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) campus covers a large physical area, with more than 40 buildings distributed over 147 hectares of land on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Our geography has a significant impact on our approach to delivery of IT. The campus wireless network is one of several new projects we have introduced over the past three years to enhance the computing environment for our 18,000 students. Our approach is to provide mobile users with access to
... wireline network through high-speed wireless access points located in very public areas. Our initial deployment began in the 2001/02 academic year with a pilot project, consisting of a small number of access points (18) placed strategically in a number of locations. This trial deployment proved that wireless technology would be an effective and secure way to give students greater access to network resources and the internet. The demand for wireless networking has grown steadily since then. After the trial rollout was completed, the wireless access points were fully integrated into the campus network, and are now regularly used by a growing number of wireless users. We continue to expand page 2 the network to meet that demand, and now have close to 80 access points. Further wireless installations are being planned, both for new buildings and as part of ongoing expansion. In order for us to plan for any expansion, it is important that we understand current usage patterns-that we understand where, when, how much, and for what our wireless network is being used. It is also important to understand how usage patterns are changing and what future usage can be projected from current trends. This paper describes the methodology we are employing to collect data on usage, and what we are learning. Authentication logs were collected in co-operation with our Information Technology Services Division (ITS) over the 2003/04 academic year. In our analysis, this usage data is supplemented with short-term wireless packet traces gathered at specific campus locations. The paper is organized as follows. Section II reviews related work in wireless network measurement. Section III describes the wireless network at the U of S, including its initial deployment, results from early user measurement research conducted on it and the production network configuration in use during the current study. In Section IV we describe the methodology followed when gathering and analysing the data, and compare it to the methodology employed during our earlier research. Section V contains the results of our analysis, and offers comparisons between current and past results. We conclude in Section VI with a summary of our key findings.