Wireless upgrade seeks to speed up slow connection

By Nicole Lafond

There is finally a light at the end of the very long tunnel of waiting for wireless Internet connections on the ONU campus. On Oct. 31, the IT Department will start upgrading the wireless system, which will speed up the connection significantly in residential areas, academic and recreational buildings.

Students have been frustrated with the slow speed of the current wireless connection in their places of residence as well as in buildings on campus. Many students experience difficulty logging onto the wireless network or getting a decent amount of coverage in the library.

“It’s surprising to me that the library has such an awful connection,” sophomore Ethan Krieger said. “You would think the connection would be excellent, but I can barely ever log on.”

A faster connection in residential areas and academic buildings would be beneficial for students academically, as well as for recreational purposes.

Junior Becca Phipps, who lives in Oak Run, says she often resorts to looking things up on her phone because the connection is so slow.

“It would be helpful with both homework and browsing if the Internet just worked like it should,” she said.

Sophomore Michelle Mitchell, who lives in Grand, says the slow connection causes her to spend double the amount of time on homework assignments.

“Almost every time I am trying to get online to do homework, the internet cuts out and it takes five minutes to reboot. It’s super frustrating and takes up way too much time.”

The issue behind the slow Internet connection on campus is multi-faceted, said Mark Green, a network analyst at ONU.

The IT department has determined that there is some sort of device, most likely a radio tower, on or near campus causing wireless interference. This device is malfunctioning, which in turn causes interference with ONU’s Wi-Fi and slows the connection speed of students’ laptops.

Poor wireless connection is another problem, Green said. The installation of the current wireless system took place in 2005. When the system was installed, it was not as heavily used as it is now. There has been a significant increase of wireless Internet usage in residential areas.

Access points, called the “Wireless AP,” were initially installed in the hallways of dorms and apartments. Because the signal has to travel through the walls, connections were poor.

In line with the IT department’s wireless upgrade plan, access points will be moved into dorm rooms and apartments. More points will also be added.

The work will start in Olde Oak and Oak Run, where the connection is the slowest, and the other residential areas on campus will follow. Afterwards access points will be moved around and added to academic and other buildings on campus.

“We really want to make sure students have a strong connection in their rooms [first] because this is where they use it the most,” Green said.

The upgrade process should be completed by May 2012.

Although the new wireless upgrade will greatly improve the internet connection on campus, the problem will never be completely solved, Green said.

“It all depends on where you live, but we will try to create the most uniform connection possible.”

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