Sheridan wireless density project still up in the air


Last year, Sheridan College began efforts to improve the wireless systems throughout its three campuses.

Dubbed the Wireless Density Project, its aim is to increase the number of access points for phones, laptops and tablets throughout the campus. Since last December, the number of access points placed throughout Trafalgar Campus has reached 445. Davis Campus has 422 access points, and the new Hazel McCallion campus has 240, bringing the total number to 1120 access points throughout all three campuses.

Despite these improvements, some students are still having problems with connecting to the school’s wireless network. “It’s not that great,” said Charles Akio, a first-year student in ICT. “It randomly disconnects, and then takes five minutes to find an IP address. I have a class in the J-Wing. It drops out there too, and our teacher told us to use an ethernet cable, because it’s better.”

Some students, however, have noticed vast improvements in the schools wireless network, particularly in residence. “They updated the servers so it actually rocks this year!” said Hayley Vesh, an RA at Trafalgar Campus’s residence. “I can Skype without ethernet it’s so good! Others have said that downloading speeds have improved greatly as well! I don’t download though so I wouldn’t know.”wifi

According to John McCormick, manager of Sheridan College’s IT department, the project is incomplete. “The next phase of the project is addressing the shortage of IP addresses supporting wireless at Sheridan,” McCormick said.

Created 10 years ago, Sheridan’s wireless network was built to support up to 65,000 IP addresses, a number thought to be excessive at the time. But with the upswing in mobile connections, and many people using more than one internet-enabled device at once, the network’s pool of IP addresses soon ran out.

According to McCormick, both short-term and long-term solutions are underway. “In the short term, we are using the IP Address Management (IPAM) appliance to gather metrics and review how our current IP addresses are allocated. With that knowledge we expect to be able to free up additional IP address ranges for use on the wireless network,” McCormick explained.

“Longer term, we are working towards re-architecting the network and configuring our equipment to support Network Address Translation (NAT) on our wireless network, which will provide a large pool of IP addresses and eliminate the issues we are seeing.”

For future updates on the Wireless Density Project, visit the IT department’s website at, where the What The Tech newsletter can be found.