Nicholas Olinsky

The main goal is getting WiFi everywhere.

— Nicholas Olinsky, Director of Information and Technology

SUNNYSIDE — Sunnyside School District will be the second in Yakima County to test out a product that will extend Wi-Fi out into the community and surrounding area.

Director of Information and Technology Nicholas Olinsky explained a third-party vendor is producing equipment called Project Gemini – a code name for a yet to be announced product – in order to extend Wi-Fi to all of Sunnyside. The third-party vendor has partnered up with the people who own a lot of the optic fiber in the valley which permits transmission over longer distances and at higher data transfer rates than electrical cables.

“So, the basic idea is to set up these radio towers in different places and just kind of aggregate all the traffic to us,” Olinsky added.

The IT director emphasized how this project would be more than just making Wi-Fi available to the surrounding areas. “The whole way the Project Gemini thing works is basically like, it’s a cooperative thing. The school district has a contract with this company and the Port of Sunnyside does.”

The resources are all shared as far as towers go and because only one tower is needed to cover the area. Project Gemini’s software would be used to keep the internet traffic of the school district and the city’s official offices separate.

“What we want to do is cover the whole Sunnyside School District in Wi-Fi. That’s the goal.”

Due to online learning and furthermore staying home to work, the need for reliable internet access has become essential.

“It’s like electricity and indoor plumbing now. It’s become a necessity, it’s more than a necessity. How are you going to get a job if you can’t get on the job share website,” Olinsky stressed.

As for the when new technology would come to Sunnyside, Olinsky noted, “I am hoping it will officially roll out this fall. I think it will go a long way to getting broadband internet access to our low income families.”

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email esustaita@sunnysidesun.com.

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