How To Setup a WiFi Network on a College Campus

Written by Ana Boechat

How To Setup a WiFi Network on a College Campus

If you’re looking to set up internet access on your college campus, you’ll need several hotspots. Luckily, by following a few simple steps, it’s fairly easy to set up a WiFi network on campus. Having an understanding of the components involved in a WiFi network will aid you in creating one that provides solid connectivity for both users and devices.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to set up a WiFi network on a college campus:

  1. Determine the coverage area.
  2. Calculate the bandwidth needed.
  3. Select the appropriate access points for your network.
  4. Enable security measures.
  5. Connect to the network.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the various components you’ll need to take into account before setting up a wireless network. It’ll also take you through a detailed guide on how to set up a WiFi network on a college campus.

1. Determine the Coverage Area

The first step you’ll need to take is determining how big your WiFi network’s coverage area needs to be. This component will vary depending on where your users are located and what spaces they need access to. For example, if your students mainly use their laptop computers in the library, then it probably isn’t necessary for them to have a WiFi network that covers the hallways.

All your devices have to be in range of the access point or AP for a WiFi network to work. Your connection won’t work if only some of your devices can connect, while others don’t. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out how far away you need to be from an AP for it to work.

2. Calculate the Bandwidth Needed

The next factor you’ll need to consider is how fast of a WiFi network you want. It’s important to remember that as more users connect to your wireless router, the slower it will get. You also need to calculate the bandwidth required for each user.

A WiFi network has to be designed according to the amount of data it needs to carry. As a general rule, for every 500 students, you can expect about 2 Mbps per person, assuming there are at least 5 people on the network at any given time.

This number will obviously vary depending on the activities performed by users on the network (i.e., streaming music or watching movies will take up way more bandwidth than sending emails).

3. Select the Appropriate Access Points for Your Network

There are several hardware options when it comes to WiFi setups. You can use an enterprise wireless controller and access points for more extensive networks (like a college campus) or utilize mobile broadband USB cards with modems.

Access points should be placed every 50-100 feet (15.24-30.48 meters) in an area that needs WiFi coverage. When placing them, make sure they are high enough to get a clear signal and that no one will unplug or steal the APs.

Additionally, access points can get really expensive, so make sure you buy enough of them and check your budget before making any purchase. Given that you’re going to be placing them in a college campus, accounting for any that may get broken or lost during use could prove to be beneficial.

4. Enable Security Measures

Next, you should consider how secure your WiFi network needs to be. Your students need to protect their laptops and other devices; therefore, I highly suggest implementing a password or encryption key for added security.

Furthermore, depending on what type of data will be transferred over the wireless signal, you might want to consider implementing an SSL certificate for any external sites (such as Facebook), so they automatically redirect users onto encrypted pages.

5. Connect to the Network

Finally, you’ll need to check if the network is working correctly. You should see the name of your college’s wireless network (you can change the name to whatever you want). Make sure that your WiFi switch (if there is one) isn’t already turned on and try to connect to the WiFi by typing in the password – if this works, then great; otherwise, something might be wrong with your setup.

Things To Consider Before Setting Up A WiFi Network on a College Campus

The first factor you’ll want to consider when setting up a WiFi network for your college is the nature of your needs. Is the network going to be used as a public access network for the whole campus? Will the network only be accessible from certain areas?

You should also consider where you want the coverage area to be. It’s important to know if you want the coverage within the confines of the campus building or if you want it outside as well (which would require a much more powerful wireless adapter).

What Kind of WiFi Setup Works Best for a College Campus?

The best WiFi setup for a college campus usually consists of three main components:

  • A high-speed wired data backbone (most colleges already have this)
  • One or multiple access points (wired and/or wireless)
  • Lots of WiFi access points fit into the first two categories.

With so many wireless devices around, the best option would be to opt for a wireless mesh network. A mesh network is made up of multiple connections that work together to extend its range.

The same signal is repeated over and over until it reaches the destination device – this means that you can place repeaters anywhere you want. This way, every computer on the campus benefits from the entire bandwidth.

Suppose you don’t want to go with a wireless mesh solution. In that case, there are several other options available such as a Point-to-Point Network.


Setting up a WiFi network can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, as long as you’re equipped with the right information. It’s crucial to know what you need  and budget for it before making such an investment.

On the hunt for an easy WiFi setup solution? Here at Groove Technology Solutions, we are passionate about getting you reliable WiFi on your college campus, as well as dorms and student housing. Located in Midvale, Utah, we strive to lighten your load with our selection of technology-based services. Contact us today to get more information!