Wi-Fi worries students
Though this is not the only comment voiced by students, this seems to be the general consensus echoed throughout campus.
“[It’s] unreliable, especially when teachers give us things to do and we can’t get on the Internet,” Apolonia Calleja, 21, junior of San Diego, said.
Wi-Fi has recently given students problems, including dropping connections and loading slowly.
“It’s full,” Dolyn Brown, Information Technology Analyst, said in an interview Wednesday. Brown said CSC has a set number of Internet Protocol addresses to assign on the wireless system. The 2,040 address maximum has been reached multiple times.
In 2005, wireless access was installed in the Reta King Library and Student Center. Students could connect their laptops and other devices, but they needed an IT-provided password to log on to the network. In 2010, wireless access was extended to all dorms, with their own login and password.
Each year, students bring more Wi-Fi enabled cell phones, iPads, iPods, Kindles, tablets, and other devices, which take up IP addresses, Brown said.
Each student is allowed three devices tied to their name, each requiring a unique IP address. If every student has at least two devices, the available addresses dwindle quickly, which is why the maximum has been reached several times.
Currently, most devices are allowed to acquire addresses except most iPods because they are deemed not educational, Brown said. “We try to open [IP addresses] to all equipment, but our number one priority is for learning.” Brown said.
The IT Department is working on a solution. However, it involves shutting the network down and reconfiguring a larger address pool.
The process will be labor intensive and require significant down time, Brown said. “We don’t want to have the problem of not having Internet for mostly everyone.”
Though Brown could not estimate how long the network would be down, he said it would be during a break to avoid interrupting learning.
“We don’t want to mess up online classes for students,” Brown said.
Wi-Fi access in the dorms is affected by the number of students connected at one time.
“If you have 400 people in High Rise trying to use the Internet at the same time then have 75 people in Brooks trying to use the Internet, the one with 75 [people] will come out the best,” Brown said.
Apparently no complaints have reached the IT Department. Ann Burk, Chief Information Officer, said, “We haven’t had any students come in saying they’re having problems.”
“[The] kids have been patient and we appreciate that,” Brown said. “If students are having problems, they can come in [to the IT Department] and ask for help.”
As a solution Brown suggested plugging in laptops to the wired network.
“Plugging it in will guarantee access.” Though the wireless and wired network is based on the same system, plugging a computer in to access the Internet will not deplete the IP addresses because it is not the same pool, he said.