UNH Telcom Provides Critical Internet and Phone Services During COVID-19

April 28, 2020

by Enterprise Technology & Services Staff

UNH Telecom Technician Tim Farris installs a wireless access point in a dorm room
UNH Telecom Technician Tim Farris installs a wireless access point in a dorm room during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Helping to support critical university infrastructure, UNH Telecom has maintained a presence on campus throughout the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Since mid-March, five team members have been working on campus projects that have allowed them to follow social distancing and safety guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control. UNH Telecom is responsible for campus wireless and wired internet, as well as phone, fax machine and printer connections.

Parking Lot Wi-Fi 

Telecom installed Wi-Fi hotspots in parking lots on the University of New Hampshire System campuses including UNH Durham, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, UNH Manchester, and the system office in Concord. Other networking teams across USNH provided similar hotspots at Granite State College, Keene State College and Plymouth State University. 

All USNH institutions’ students, faculty and staff can access these hotspots through the Eduroam network, a secure wireless network used by educational institutions worldwide. The hotspots will remain active through the spring semester in the parking lots listed here.

Hospital Overflow Site 

On Wednesday, April 1, UNH Telecom worked with local hospitals to set up an overflow site for the COVID-19 outbreak. The site is able to accommodate 250 people at the Hamel Recreation Center. Telecom activated onsite printers and fax machines, installed 20 telephones, and set up a wireless network for medical staff and hospital occupants. 

Residence Hall Wi-Fi Upgrade 

Most UNH students left campus shortly after spring break ended, which presented an opportunity to complete a planned wireless upgrade in residence halls. Telecom started this work on April 6, and while the original plan called for teams of two, this was modified so workers could comply with social distancing standards. Team members were able to stay safe, working in separate buildings and vehicles. This plan was proposed and approved by UNH and allowed technicians to operate as essential personnel during the stay-at-home order. All told, Telecom installed more than 1,200 new wireless access points and completed the upgrade in 15 resident halls. View Telecom’s “Delivery to Install" video.

Remote Working Support

In late March, most UNH faculty and staff were sent home to work. To assist with communications, Telecom activated the Avaya EC500 — a feature that allows office phones to be routed to cell phones — for 233 users. It also made adjustments to numerous call centers to allow users to receive calls remotely.

 

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