Campus survey reveals students grade Wifi access a C or below

Dylan Haviland, Jené Thomas – General Assignment Reporters 

It took 15 minutes of walking around Engleman Hall on Thursday afternoon for senior liberal arts major Danielle Murphy to get a steady Wi-Fi connection to read her online textbook for her next class.

“I have trouble getting a lot of connection,” said Murphy. “Sometimes it’s really slow, sometimes it doesn’t work at all.”

This story is one of a six-part project for the Reporting and Writing course which included surveys conducted by journalism students who talked to different groups of 100 SCSU students each about various topics. The surveys were conducted in mid-April over one week. The topics reviewed concerned campus safety, Wi-Fi access, Buley Library renovation, campus shuttle service, favorite NFL teams and school spirit.

The survey for Wi-Fi access over campus yielded mixed results amongst students.  According to the anonymous surveys, which were based on a report card structure ranging from A to F, 75 percent of students graded the Wi-Fi access a C or below.  The average grade overall was a D. Only five of the students surveyed ranked the connection at an A grade and 19 gave it a B grade.

Ashley Henrikson, geography and senior, recalled having several Wi-Fi issues while working in the fireplace study long in the Adanti Student Center.  She said she would repeatedly have to sign into the internet server.

“I remember having problems trying to do homework,” said Henrikson.  “[Wi-Fi] would just never work for me.”

Henrikson now does her work in the geography lab where she believes the Wi-Fi is the strongest. While there are some places that provide a stronger internet connection than others, the campus has implemented more Wi-Fi connections over the last year.

“I think it’s interesting that within the last year they’ve gotten Wi-Fi to all of the buildings,” said Bryan Nagel, senior public health major. “It’s not necessarily where it should be, there are some spots where you don’t get Wi-Fi or it will go in and out. I’ve experienced that a lot with my phone recently that it will be on Wi-Fi, then not be on Wi-Fi, and I can’t connect. So there are some problems but overall, I’m happy with all the places I can get Wi-Fi.”

In a study released by Educause Center for Applied Research in 2011, 78 percent of students or instructors that use Wi-Fi reported it as “extremely valuable.” Because students rely so heavily on the internet to complete school work, with 59 percent saying it gives them access to a wider range of resources according to ECAR, academic and residence halls display the phone number to the OIT help desk for computer problems.

Raymond Kellogg, the director of network services, provided information as to why the Wi-Fi may not always work efficiently.  He said that three underlying reasons may make Wi-Fi service poor in an area: older access points which provide Wi-Fi, the density or number of access points currently on campus and the amount of devices trying to connect to them.

The “ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2011” indicated that 87 percent of undergraduate students have laptops, 55 percent have smartphones and 53 percent have desktop computers.

Kellogg mentioned that the network services is working towards installing new access points throughout campus, focusing on the buildings with largest amount of classes first.

“We are ripping out all the wireless access points and installing brand new Cisco 3702 access points everywhere, we are tripling the amount of access points,” said Kellogg.  “So any access wireless problems that people are experiencing should be gone.”

Photo Credit: Monica Zielinski

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