Improving Wireless programme

As part of the University’s Digital Transformation programme, this programme aspires to one wireless infrastructure across the collegiate University, ensuring wireless works everywhere, is accessible to all, and underpins strategic activities in support of teaching, learning and research.

The programme aims to fulfil the following Wi-Fi expectations: 

  • Wi-Fi should just work, be consistent, and secure 
  • onboarding to University Wi-Fi should be easy 
  • user experience should be seamless when moving around University buildings 
  • ease of access to eduroam, University digital services
  • ease of access to Wi-Fi from personal devices
  • reduced operational overhead 

Why do we need to improve Wi-Fi 

Wi-Fi is now the primary connectivity method for students, staff and University visitors. To support the improvement of Wi-Fi we need to focus on the two key areas outlined below: 

What currently works well

Wi-Fi support provided by the Managed Wireless Service (MWS) using the Juniper Mist product: 

  • product support 
  • excellent diagnostics 
  • pro-active monitoring 
  • long-term statistics 
  • inventory support 
  • enhanced administrative access for IT Support Staff (ITSS) 

What needs improving

The experience of users needs enhancing specifically in relation to:

  • Radio Frequency (RF) signal strength 
  • RF design to support modern study and work styles
  • Wi-Fi accessibility
  • Wi-Fi performance

What the programme plans to deliver 

Ultimately, it plans to provide ‘good Wi-Fi everywhere’ by rolling out the Managed Wireless Service (MWS) across the University. See more detail about progress on the Improving Wireless programme pilot webpage.

What is the Managed Wireless Service (MWS)? 

Between 2020 and 2022 IT Services replaced the Central Oxford Wireless LAN Service (COWLS), delivered through the Cisco (5000 series) controller based product, to our current MWS that uses the Juniper Mist cloud-based (controllerless) solution. The Mist product allows local IT teams to have devolved access to the Juniper Mist Management portal, including a market leading diagnostic platform that provides the tools to support end-users. 

MWS provides Wi-Fi as an optional and subscribed service to UAS, the Bodleian Libraries, three colleges and more than 80 departments.