Thanks for sharing your experience. You're correct that there are dead or weak spots in the wifi umbrella in Mills. Many of those are unavoidable, particularly on floors where there is a high density of metal shelving, which wreaks havoc on any number of signals. Mills generally has one of the densest wifi nets on campus, and currently there are no plans to upgrade the network.
Power is another area where we're highly aware of the situation. As you've probably seen, there are numerous additional power outlets in Mills, particularly on levels one and three, but in general where we can, we do put out more power. It's the "can" that's the issue. It's an older building, and there's only so much one can add before exceeding capacity in certain areas. That applies to installing the ceiling dropdowns. We do that when we renovate spaces, but it comes at a cost and cannot be done globally.
I was speaking with some students in a meeting today about both of these issues and might add two other thoughts. One is that the demand for wifi in Mills is particularly high since campus, in general, does not have ubiquitous wireless, as do many campuses in Ontario and further afield. I do what I can from my position to lobby to change this; I suggest to any students who will listen that they join in the chorus. For me, wifi is no longer about convenience nor fun; it's my lifeblood. No network means a greatly impaired ability to work effectively. The other thought concerns power. I feel the pain of every student I see seeking a power outlet, having gone through the same quest in countless airports and hotel conference spaces. What finally freed me from that was ditching my laptop for a far less expensive netbook. Sure, it's not as capable as a laptop in some ways, but in others it's a dream: lighter, smaller, and with battery life well in excess of eight hours. As I've gotten used to it, I find it harder and harder to remember why I had a laptop.
Answered by: Dale Askey (Associate University Librarian, Library Learning Technologies)