KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Keesler is one of two Air Education and Training Command bases installing commercial Wi-Fi in its training group, Dec. 3 – Jan. 18.
The installation is part of an initiative to expand resources the students, instructors and training managers can use for their courses.
“One of the things the training groups and squadrons have a problem with is they’re not able to reach into educational or training areas because they’re either restricted or blocked by the Air Force network,” said Martin Rivera, 81st Training Support Squadron chief technology officer. “The best way to get our Airmen an opportunity to reach these sites, as well as our training managers and our training personnel, the ability to enhance their courses is to open another pipeline outside of the AFNet.”
Previously, in order to get access to the blocked sites, people have to go through a process called change request management, which requests a website review process to determine if it could be allowed to be accessed.
Rivera said the review and approval process could be lengthy and opening another pathway allowing training students to access sites is an easier solution.
While some squadrons have cyber cafes equipped with computers connected to the AFNet, with the new learning wireless system all training group Airmen can access the commercial Wi-Fi with their own devices, anywhere in the training group, excluding dormitories.
“These services are for the training group only so it’s not going to be duplicated for other groups,” said Rivera. “They will still be on the AFNet connectivity or government services. The training group not only has government services, but will also have the ability to connect to a commercial service to enhance their training group environment.”
The hope is that adding commercial Wi-Fi will not only enhance the training group environment, but internet users around the base as well.
“Overall, the AFNet is being looked at as a more operational [requirement],” said Rivera. “If we start taking away some of the users and those individuals that are on the AFNet doing things other than using it for operational purposes, it might benefit both worlds.”
Commercial Wi-Fi is being installed in phases throughout AETC; eventually all training groups will be connected.