By Cait Kemp
The conclusion of the 2020 spring semester brought upon the process of upgrading the networking systems within the Springfield College campus. Throughout the summer, the technology team completed the work to fix the wireless side of the network, but the task of the wired side was still in process during the fall semester and over winter break.
Since the start of the 2021 spring semester last week, issues with the Wi-Fi have been noticed almost immediately.
Students have been trying to work around these difficulties, but it proves to be an exhausting task to deal with the unpredictable network.
The issue has also plagued instructors on campus, with the first two weeks being fully remote, constant Zoom crashes have caused a big problem.
Sophomore David Kilburn said, “The Wi-Fi is really bad, I struggle to work on assignments because half the time the Wi-Fi disconnects and you have to wait awhile for it to reconnect.”
Along with trying to navigate the problems, there is a common theme of frustration that there is even a problem in the first place.
“It is beyond frustrating for the school to lack in an area so crucial to our education these days given our shift to remote learning,” said junior Emma Wesoloski.
Rachel Perry said, “With only 60 percent of the students on campus right now, I still find my Zooms breaking up… I can only imagine how bad it will be when the whole campus returns.”
Senior Nicholas Bratberg agreed that the connection has been anything but ideal. “I understand the school wants a strong Wi-Fi to support everyone. I have an idea for apartment style living, either allow an outside router or have a router for each individual apartment,” he said.
Anthony Mutti, Chief Information Officer of Information & Technology Services (ITS), said that the network path was rebuilding every few minutes, meaning that connection was taking longer to get from one point to another. This network is supposed to calculate its path and be able to follow that every time, but this was not happening correctly.
“It slows traffic down and things like Zoom which are expecting a continuous flow of data stopped working,” said Mutti.
“We made a lot of changes over the weekend, we had staff here all weekend long… we made a bunch of configuration changes to simplify the network and to implement a different way of dealing with the ports that students were plugging into,” he added.
These ports mentioned are another reason that connection could be bad in dorms for students.
It has been found that students that plug in their own routers or networking systems could be affecting the Wi-Fi for others in the building around them, as they are not connecting to the correct spot.
Mutti said, “If students can just help and not connect wireless routers to their access ports, and not connect any sort of network device in any of the jacks in the room… all these things are things we keep finding and they just make everything worse.”
While searching for the root cause of the issues, ITS discovered that there could be a problem with one of the buildings itself.
“We know one residence hall that if we disconnect from the internet, the problem goes away, so we’re looking at that today and tomorrow. Hopefully we find the solution because we have isolated it down to that one building,” said Mutti.
However, as of now, the cause of the problem is still unknown. Students are urged to contact ITS if they are having trouble with connectivity, as some issues could be resolved at this time.
Students should also know that a new password is required for login to Pridespace, so if there are any troubles with that they should also contact ITS to reset their password. With any other questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Courtesy of Danny Priest