When it comes to wireless broadband, Ryan Lasure was playing a leading role as he worked on a Ball State University project testing the ultrafast communications system known as WiMAX.

Lasure, ’10, MS information and communication sciences, was overseeing a usability study for wireless broadband.

Using towers rather than fiber optics, WiMAX promised to extend high-speed Internet access to previously underserved areas, relieving the pressure placed on existing wireless infrastructure by the growing use of smart phones and new mobile devices such as the iPad.

"It is an amazing opportunity to be at Ball State and working at the first location in North America to test the newest WiMAX equipment," said Lasure, who hailed from Sterling Heights, Michigan. "Ball State is on the leading edge of wireless communications, and it shows by the resources the university is putting into this project. "

Ball State partnered with Alvarion, Cisco Systems, and others to test stationary and mobile wireless since 2005. And universities and colleges around the country are knocking on Ball State's door for help in building their wireless broadband systems. Ball State recently built and is remotely managing a small test bed of wireless broadband for the University of Wisconsin’s Madison campus.

In Muncie, Indiana, Lasure was leading a group of students to examine how students living in near-campus neighborhoods may use wireless broadband.

“In my role, I lead a student team to coordinate with all the users and provide surveys to gauge how our network is operating,” he said. “It has improved my organizational skills by handling about 150 students. The project also has allowed me to further understand market research.”

Lasure was also blogging about his experience for the Cisco Mobility Community.

“It is obvious that Ryan has great leadership potential because he knows what is going on, takes charge, and has moved the WiMAX project forward,” said Kirsten Smith, associate director, technology officer and labs manager for Ball State’s Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS).

“He has a great attitude and is organized, thoughtful and proactive. And through it all, he still manages to be fun to work with. He understands the big picture as well as the elements that make up that picture. I believe he will be highly successful in whatever future he makes for himself.”