Campus / Featured / News / October 3, 2019

Students struggle with wifi

Student worker Arianna Joplin works at the IT Help Desk (Milo Camaya/TKS)

Knox Information Technology Services (ITS) installed a new wifi arrangement over the summer with routers from a different provider. Students have been experiencing slow connections across devices and locations on campus.

Steve Hall, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology Services, explained that ITS leases equipment from companies and those leases expire every five years. This gives ITS a chance to update and exchange equipment.

When evaluating equipment and comparing prices last year, ITS decided to switch from Cisco to Aruba. Hall said moving to the new vendor saved $100,000 and offered 320 access points versus the 260 Cisco offered. ITS performed a proof of concept in SMC at the end of last year, and Aruba seemed to be a good fit.

Hall attributes the slow connections to problems that ITS faces at the start of each school year. According to Hall, the biggest problem ITS has faced this year has been helping returning students re-register their devices on the network.

“I don’t think we have had any higher incidences of problems [with] getting students on the network than any other year,” Hall said.

Freshman Hannah Dixon said she was having issues with the wifi across all three of her devices: her cell phone, laptop and iPad. Dixon’s main issues were getting social media sites to load on her phone, specifically Snapchat. She has been struggling to get documents and web pages to load since she moved into her dorm.

“It’s frustrating trying to get my docs to load,” Dixon said.

Junior Alyssa Randel reported similar issues. Randel’s computer often shows that it is connected to the wifi network but behaves as if it doesn’t have a connection. She notices her laptop takes longer to load in high traffic areas on campus, such as Seymour Hall and the Seymour Library.

“I live in Eco House, and we have our own router in our living room, so I don’t feel like I have as many issues there, but that may be because there’s less people in that area,” Randel said.

Besides longer loading times, Randel didn’t notice a change in the quality of the wifi connection between this year and last year.

“I feel like there are good days and there are bad days, and I feel like that’s always going to be like that,” Randel said.

Junior Caitlin Edelmuth stayed in Galesburg over the summer. She experienced the transition from the old provider, Cisco, to the new provider, Aruba. While she testifies that the wifi is better now than it was over the summer, Edelmuth admits it isn’t as good as it was last year.

Edelmuth said that her phone has been disconnecting from and reconnecting to access points more than it used to. Edelmuth uses a MacBook. Her laptop disconnects from the wifi every time it goes to sleep or the screen turns off. Edelmuth continues to work with ITS in an effort to solve this problem.

“My computer was used to test this issue because some professors were also having this issue over the summer, and they didn’t know how to fix it,” Edelmuth said.

Hall was unaware of this issue.

Hall says the new arrangement is still evolving and urges students and staff to report any issues with the wifi to ITS. ITS hours have been extended to midnight Mondays through Thursdays.

“If you have an issue, contact the Help Desk because if there is a wireless problem somewhere, someplace, we’re anxious to address it,” Hall said


Tags:  its Steve Hall wifi

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