Wi-Fi concerns could be in the past due with upgrades

WifiTyler McNeil | The Hudsonian
Rebecca Jordan

Junior News Editor

The quality of Wi-Fi on campus has been a source of complaints for students, but the ITS department says it is taking steps to address the concerns.

“The Wi-Fi is so horrible. I go to class and even my professors are complaining about it; they complain about it more than I do. On my phone it’s not that bad, but in classes and the computer lab it’s really slow,” said Hannah Gonzales, liberal arts student.

Students have come across problems such as slow internet and being forced to log into the HVCC-COMM network every time they move from one building to the next. Others complain of not having the capability to access Wi-Fi outside buildings. Sophia Schermerhorn, a nursing student, said, “I find it fairly annoying, especially since I’m paying for college and I would like the Wi-Fi to work.”

The ITS department is in the process of doubling the bandwidth, or speed of Wi-Fi, across campus, increasing it from 2.4 to 5 gigahertz (GHz). Crews are also in the process of installing an additional hundred routers to add to the over three hundred already in use. The new routers will be 5 GHz and will support newer devices, while older phones and laptops will still have access to the 2.4 GHz network.

Students have also expressed a desire to see the Wi-Fi coverage extended outside of campus buildings.  “The fact that there is no Wi-Fi outside doesn’t really promote going outside in the spring or early fall semesters,” said James Napier, criminal investigation student.

ITS has been laying out plans and collecting bids to build an outdoor Wi-Fi network. This will allow students seamless coverage in high-volume areas such as in front of the Siek Campus Center and Hudson and Higbee halls.

“It all depends on the weather. Winter is coming, and there is underground work and the hanging of units on the outside of buildings that needs to be done. We may be waiting until the spring on some of those construction items,” said interim chief information officer Sarah Garrand. The project’s tentative completion date is set for spring 2016.

Sporadic internet and Wi-Fi outages have also been concerns for students throughout the semester. The Aug. 21 internet outage on was a due to an underground fire that broke out near North Pearl Street in Albany.

The campus lost internet a second time on Aug. 27 when a construction team dug up the college’s internet provider First Light’s major fiber network in Watervliet. “Unfortunately, both of those events, which were outside our means of controlling, happened within the first two weeks of classes,” said Garrand.

In order to prevent future outages such as the ones that occurred within the first weeks of classes, Garrand said the ITS team plans to divide the path by which internet comes into campus. One line will come from the north and another from the south, each with the capability of supporting campus Wi-Fi on its own in the event that the other line is damaged.

“I think some people confuse the internet outage as being a Wi-Fi outage when we had no internet connectivity in or outside the campus during both of those outages,” Garrand said.

The loss of Wi-Fi in the Campus Center on Nov. 11, however, was an actual Wi-Fi outage that still baffles both the ITS department and First Light,. “They are unable to recreate the problem, so unfortunately I do not have an answer as to why that occurred,” Garrand said.

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