Bandwidth restraints keeping NUTV wired for now, NUIT says

Christina Salter

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Now that students can access wireless Internet in their dorms, Northwestern University Information Technology may soon make NUTV available via wireless as well.

NUIT is “actively pursuing” wireless usage for NUTV but has run into technical restraints involving bandwidth, said Wendy Woodward, director of technology support services. Currently, dorm residents must use an Ethernet cable to connect to NUTV.

Plans to expand access to wireless will be reviewed in early 2009, said Sheila Driscoll, director of business and finance for Student Affairs.

“That would be a major infrastructure project,” she said. “We’re not sure that we would be able to do that in the short term.”

NUIT has recently noticed a drop in NUTV usage, but was not able to track specific numbers, Driscoll said. One cause may be increased usage of the Internet to view recorded shows, Driscoll said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” she said. “I know myself I’m watching less television.”

Medill freshman Laurel Stankus said she doesn’t use NUTV because she’s always busy when her favorite shows air. She uses sites such as ABC.com and surfthechannel.com to view the recordings when it’s more convenient.

But wireless access might make the service more appealing, especially in crowded dorm rooms, the Allison Hall resident said.

“We could watch TV outside or something,” she said. “That would be really collegiate.”

NUTV’s most recent upgrade was in March 2007 when the service added 12 channels and switched to DIRECTV in response to students’ concerns.

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