Image courtesy of Prof. Gerald Mills, UCD School of Geography

Research undertaken by four MA Geography students has shown for the first time where access to wireless internet is at its best on campus. The students, Clare McAleavey, Shane Bradley, Caroline Greene and Luke Monahan explained the drive behind undertaking the project as wanting to quantify precisely where issues exist that may otherwise go unnoticed.

The four are students of Professor Gerald Mills, Head of the School of Geography, who previously produced a map charting the highs and lows of property rental prices across Dublin. Mills sets the project of producing a map as part of coursework assigned in order to demonstrate to students that maps are not limited exclusively to denoting terrain and that their usefulness can be extended to many fields.

To create the map, the students divided the campus into sections on a grid and set points at which measurements were to be taken. These measurements were taken a number of times to rule out any anomalies using applications available on both Apple and Android devices. Data collected was then applied to a base model of the Belfield campus and colour coded before identifying features such as building names and paths were added.

The end result is an easy to understand model of where connectivity is good and where it could be improved. The core of the campus tends to have better reception due to the close clustering of many buildings while fringe faculties located in Richview (Architecture), Newstead (Landscape Architecture) and Roebuck (Administration) appear underserved.

Surprisingly, though perhaps not so to students who attend most of their lectures in the building, the arts block appears to have particularly poor coverage, something the students attribute to its 1960s era Brutalist design which features a typically liberal use of precast concrete and steel in its construction.

Wi-Fi signals are can pass through structures such as walls and ceilings, however testing has demonstrated that the density of the materials signals travel through can have a dampening effect.

  • Seán O’Reilly, Editor
    This article originally appeared in Volume 29, Issue 8. Published February 16th 2016.