MiFi for Those With no Wi-Ficsudhbulletin September 25, 2020 1 COMMENT
MiFi unit offered to CSUDH current students from IT as a resource for distance learning. Art by Chris Martinez.
By Chris Martinez, Layout Assistant
As the approximately 480,00 students enrolled in the California State University system continue navigating the fall semester online, having access to Wi-Fi has become as important as bringing paper and pen to class.
This is why California State University, Dominguez Hills, Division of Information Technology put together the IT Loaner program.
The program offers laptops, webcams, headsets, MiFi’s and other course-specific technology equipment for CSUDH students enrolled in the fall.
Bill Chang, Associate Vice President of Development and Digital Convergence, hopes the MiFi units will help fill the gaps of the digital divide.
“Since March, we have distributed over 700+ laptops, over 230+ webcams, 230+ headsets, and 200 MiFi’s. We have ordered additional devices and are awaiting delivery from various vendors,” Chang said.
MiFi is a brand name fora wireless device that acts like a mobile hotspot.
CSUDH students, faculty and staff can request the loan of a Mifi unit for the fall semester.
MiFis are mobile internet devices that allow the user to connect their compatible devices such as a laptop, tablet or cellular phone to the internet.
The process it uses is called tethering.
The MiFi units run on LTE speeds but depend on cellular reception.
The difference between the MiFi units and regular WiFi units is that WiFi is typically set into a specific spot location, Such as on campus, Starbucks cafe or someone’s home.This means they can only reach a certain location before the signal is lost.
But with a MiFi unit the internet connection runs through the unit itself and does not depend on a certain location.
Tthe device is what holds the internet connection. It can be connected to a device by accessing the internet as long as there is a strong enough connection via LTE.
According to Chang the current high demand for internet accessible devices all around the worl, make the task of getting the Loaner Program in motion difficult
“Our challenge was acquiring Mifi devices from the cellular vendors and then distributing all the devices in a safe manner as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines evolved.”
MiFi units are available to currently enrolled CSUDH undergraduate and graduate students.
According to Chang, “CSUDH I.T. is purchasing additional laptops for students that are faster and have more memory, additional MiFi’s, we are in the process of creating a virtual computer lab, and providing additional instructional technology equipment.”
The return policy for the MiFi and other devices is still up in the air according to Chang, “With the recent announcement of Spring term staying on virtual instructions, we are reviewing the return plans and will announce the plans via email to those who have checked out loaner devices.”
For more information on the Loaner Program and to request a MiFi device, visit the students resources page here.