Campus Wi-Fi access in the dorms could be improved

By Zachary Blackwell

Elm Staff Writer

The importance of having a stable Wi-Fi connection while using the Internet is often taken for granted. Wi-Fi is a commodity that, in a way, we expect to possess while being anywhere near civilization.

It has been introduced as the most convenient way to access the vast World Wide Web. It is the primary method that many people use to get a service that allows them to browse websites, play games online, e-mail each other, and get vital work done as a team. All these different activities are just some reasons why students rely on the availability of Wi-Fi on campus so much.

Despite the heavy reliance that students have on the campus’s Wi-Fi service, it suffers from problems that make consistently accessing it a hassle.

When the Wi-Fi service on campus works, it works well. It allows students to do everything they need to do reasonably well, with reliable speed a vast majority of the time. In particular, the connection to the campus Wi-Fi network is more consistent in the academic buildings, as well as other more public areas, like Hodson Hall and the library. However, the Wi-Fi connection that many utilize is less consistent in the different dorms around campus, the most of which are at least a little far-removed from the academic buildings. The Wi-Fi around dorms usually works well, but sometimes suffers from a randomly weaker connection.

Occasionally, the connection will slow down and become very weak, regardless of what device is being used, if the user is a certain distance away from the buildings at the center of the campus, which tend to have the most consistent Wi-Fi connections.

In my experience using the school’s Wi-Fi connection, it has been far more consistent in public areas. I have used my laptop and my phone with campus Wi-Fi, in addition to public computers, in the library, and I have had little issues accessing my e-mails, downloading documents that are stored online, surfing the Internet, and accessing videos. In other words, the Wi-Fi is almost never problematic in public buildings.

In my dorm, the Internet connection via Wi-Fi is usually solid, but can sometimes run into hiccups.

When I am connected to Wi-Fi in my room using my laptop, every once in awhile the Wi-Fi service will become slower. A few times (mostly in the beginning of the semester) my experience with the Wi-Fi on campus was spotty. Rarely, my laptop would randomly appear to entirely disconnect from the campus Wi-Fi service, only to be available to reconnect a little while later. However, after I submitted a report to the HelpDesk about my Wi-Fi issue, they were able to reset the connection, and since then I haven’t had the disconnection problem.

Only occasionally does the connection get weaker, and when it does, it usually corrects itself after a few moments. Meanwhile, I’ve had even less problems on my phone’s Wi-Fi connection.

The success that I have had with the Wi-Fi service as time has passed in the semester should be viewed as encouraging because of the support the Wi-Fi service on campus is receiving.

Not everyone has had the same level of success with the Wi-Fi here, but it is apparent that the issues with it can at least be dealt with. At the very least, I know that since going to the HelpDesk, my Wi-Fi connectivity greatly improved, although the service may not always be perfect. The fact that problems with Wi-Fi connectivity can be somewhat mitigated for those experiencing difficulty with it is a positive sign that the campus has the capability to fix the issue.

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