Students seek improvement for campus internet connection

Ilari Kauppila, ‘Doah Contributing Writer
April 24, 2013

After spending hours on online homework, there is nothing more infuriating than being unable to turn it in because of a failing internet connection. During the last two semesters, S.U. students have faced such problems too often. The S.U. WiFi network has been plagued by choppy connections, horrible loading times and network blackouts lasting anywhere from a couple minutes to several hours.

This network that is meant to make life easier has transformed into a hindrance for many students.

“It is very difficult or downright impossible to connect to the network in my room at ECC,” says East Campus Commons R.A. Mary Harshman. “At other places on campus connecting is easier, but the network is still extremely slow everywhere.”

Non-functioning WiFi has a crippling impact on students’ ability to do their homework. Many complain they have been unable to complete assignments because of the slow network.

“Internet problems have prevented me from finishing class assignments on time,” said freshman Kathleen Lasick. Loading Blackboard and submitting online homework has proven difficult for a number of students.

Students have also made complaints about the network’s ability to load streaming video on sites such as YouTube. Issues with streaming posed problems for students needing to watch video presentations for classes.

The shoddy connection also interferes with free time. The network’s extensive safety measures make it impossible for wireless printers and game consoles to connect to the Internet.

“Our request for Ethernet plugs got blown off by the I.C. department. We basically got told that we’re out of luck with the connection problems,” says ECC resident John Hutton.

The Institutional Computing department’s Help Desk indeed has little help to offer.

According to them, no action to relieve the situation is in the works, despite having at least five students a day complain about the WiFi.

Instead, students are ironically encouraged to check the Internet for updates, as well as to empty their browsing history frequently. Other solutions offered by the Help Desk include staying off the network during class time and avoiding crowded buildings.

I.C. also had no plans to loosen the S.U. network’s crippling safety measures. According to the Help Desk, the security is in place to protect students’ personal information. Ways to bypass the security, such as Ethernet cables, are not supported.

The IC department’s inactivity on the matter shows.

Harshman said the connection has largely been the same during the four years she’s been at S.U. “I.C. department is really quick to reply to emails and they did install new WiFi hotspots to ECC upon request. Sadly, it had no effect on the connection.”

Still, dance major Maranda Rossi sees a silver lining even in this cloud. “Even if the network is slow, it’s still a lot better than at my previous school.” However, for students struggling to complete their online homework this is a cold comfort.

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