Network User Experience Improvements

Goals & Benefits to Campus

Berkeley IT has embarked on a wide-ranging program to improve the overall experience of network users on campus. The goal of this project is to offer a broader and clearer range of connectivity options and to modernize and improve the capacity of various network services where necessary. This IT Top Priority consists of multiple projects as described below.

User Experience Improvement Projects

Network User Experience Program Timeline

Improving our overall network involves several coordinated projects happening in tandem with careful consideration for project dependencies and sequencing to minimize disruption to the campus community. The biggest factor in our ability to make progress in the past has been years of underfunding. We are thrilled that, as of July 1, 2022, we are now fully funded to continue this critical work, however, we are playing catch-up and changes cannot happen overnight. The overall aim is to enhance the campus Wi-Fi, firewall, and VPN experience on campus and to improve connectivity for students in international locations. graphic of Network User Experience Program timeline, content provided in detailed table on this page

Wi-Fi Upgrades: Infrastructure Expansion & Modernization

The majority of locations on campus now enjoy modern 802.11ac Wi-Fi service. Over the last year, we replaced over 600 obsolete access points that do not support modern services in multiple buildings on campus and are working to replace 200 more. This work will be finalized in October 2022. View the updated map of coverage here | compare to Wi-Fi map from last year.

Wi-Fi Service Improvements

Berkeley IT offers several Wi-Fi network services, some of which provide identical features. The user experience for configuring access to the primary campus Wi-Fi service (eduroam) is not intuitive and has poor accessibility. Our existing services do not adequately support Internet of Things (IoT) devices or the needs of students in our residence halls. We are addressing all of these issues during this project.

Campus Firewall & VPN Capacity Improvements

During the pandemic, the bSecure GlobalProtect VPN became an important tool for our students, faculty, and staff and use of this service increased dramatically. More and more campus departments rely on the bSecure firewall service to ensure they are able to meet policy and privacy requirements. Berkeley IT would like to expand the service to most campus connections as the default to reduce risks for our user community. We will be implementing additional hardware capacity to ensure the ongoing stability and scalability of VPN. We will also implement additional capacity to expand firewall services on campus.

Improved Connectivity for Students in International Locations

Today, students who are studying remotely in locations outside the US can experience poor access to course materials and resources as a result of restrictions imposed on local internet access. Berkeley IT will be implementing a service to address these issues for locations where these issues have been a concern. This service will take the form of a VPN which improves performance and ensures educational resources are available without restriction. Project details are being developed, more information coming soon.

Detailed Milestones & Timeline

Important dates and major milestones for this program. See individual project pages for more detailed information. All dates are estimated and information may shift as this program and the suite of projects within it progresses.



Benefit to Campus

Phase 1: Oct. 2017 - June 2020

Oct. 2017

Begin Wi-Fi infrastructure upgrades

Ensure ubiquitous, high-performance Wi-Fi throughout campus.

June 2019

Begin Wi-Fi upgrades and coverage in student housing

Provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout campus residence halls to ensure equitable access to educational resources.

July 2019 - June 2020

Campus Wi-Fi infrastructure upgrades continue

Continued progress to goal of ubiquitous high performance Wi-Fi.

Phase 2: July 2020 - June 2021

July 2020 - June 2021

Continued progress with Campus Wi-Fi Infrastructure restricted.

Continued progress with work on the campus Wi-Fi infrastructure restricted due to the pandemic and lack of funding.

June 2021

Completed residence hall Wi-Fi upgrades

Provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout campus residence halls to ensure equitable access to educational resources.

Phase 3: July 2021 - Jan. 2022

July 2021

Network User Experience Program begins

Wide-ranging program to improve the availability, accessibility, security and performance of campus network services with a focus on the user perspective.

Nov. 2021

Deprecate Airbears2, SSID broadcast turned off on Nov. 16

Reduce user complexity and confusion, simplify service offerings, prepare for enhanced services, improve user connectivity experience.

Jan. 2022

Implement additional campus firewall and VPN capability, PAN Refresh (new hardware & CPU cycles) on Jan. 12

Ensure access to campus resources, improve data security and availability.

Phase 4: Feb. - Nov. 2022

March 2022

Completely abate Airbears2, network will be retired on March 23

Reduce user complexity and confusion, simplify service offerings, prepare for enhanced services, improve user connectivity experience.

Sept. 2022

Enhance Wi-Fi user experience monitoring; integrate sensors into WI-Fi operations/support

Faster detection, reporting, and resolution of issues resulting in less disruption for users.

Nov. 2022

Implement new Wi-Fi keys portal

Improved accessibility and usability for all campus users.

Nov. 2022

Enhanced connectivity for international students; Remote connectivity for international students in China

Ensure access to course materials for international students.

Phase 5: Dec. - March 2023→ Next up!

Dec. 2022

Cisco Abatement with Aruba Replacements

Improve network security. Improve connectivity options for campus and resident communities.

Jan. 2023

Launch Residential/IoT Wi-Fi Services; PSK network development

Improve network security. Improve connectivity options for campus and resident communities.

March 2023

Replace CalVisitor with Berkeley Visitor

Improve user connectivity. Reduce confusion, simplify services. Improve campus network security.

connect to Wi-Fi

Team Members & Roles

Primary Contact: 
David Rieger, Project Manager

Sally Baker, Service Desk Manager

Clark Bilorusky, Technical Services Supervisor, Student Helpdesk

Martin Garcia, Network Project Manager

John Ives, Security Analyst

Andrew Lau,Network Engineering Supervisor

Rita Rosenthal, Director of Communications

Sean Schluntz, Principal Network Engineer

Gary Thomas, Principal Wireless Engineer, Process Owner

Steering Committee Members 

Bill Allison, Chief Technology Officer

Dave Browne, Executive Director of Campus IT Infrastructure

Wes Johnson, Executive Director of Campus IT Experience

Erfan MojaddamDirector DevOps & Learning Spaces

Cristóbal OlivaresDirector, Student Technologies 

Isaac OrrManager Network Operations & Services (Steering Committee Liaison)

Faye Snowden - TPO Manager

Jenn Stringer, AVC for IT & CIO