What’s up with the wi-fi?

A familiar sight Photo Credit: Kyle Lawrence

A familiar sight
Photo Credit: Kyle Lawrence

By Kyle Lawrence

If you’ve been having trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi around campus, you’re not alone.

“It’s bad,” said Alexina Cenan, Kean junior. “It takes too long just to log in, I just give up sometimes.”

“The classrooms behind the Starbucks kiosk [in the CAS] have no 3G or Wi-fi. I hate it,” said Kristen Dematos, a third year Kean student.

The Internet is an important part of a college student’s life. There are emails to check, databases to search, and definitions to Google. Without this useful tool many students will find themselves crippled in their schoolwork.

Many students use laptops, notebooks and smartphones for Internet connection. But with an unreliable Wi-Fi, these devices are only as useful as what is pre-downloaded on them.

Kean University has many computers throughout the school set up for students to use at the library and computer labs, when they aren’t occupied by a class or locked. But, even those that directly connect through Ethernet cables tend to have problems with load speed.

YouTube is the most frequent victim of Kean’s poor Internet service. Several times I’ve been in class and watched a teacher struggle to get an informative YouTube video to load for several minutes, all while having students shout suggestions of refreshing the page, restarting the computer, or using Google Chrome instead.

“We’re trying to move students into a new era of technology and teaching, and that just can’t be done when there’s the constant fear that the Internet will go down,” said Suzanne Schwab, professor of communication. “It’s not effective, and it puts a damper on lectures.”

As a journalism student, keeping up to date with the news, being able to email my assignments, and setting up interviews online is incredibly important. If I can’t do these things at school, they’ll have to wait until I get home. And for a college student, time and deadlines are important.

I tried to get some information on the issues with the Internet by going to Central Processing in the Technology building, where the central router for the school is supposedly located. There I was told no one could speak with me, unless I first spoke with the Director of University relations, Emily Renkert.

I went to Hutchinson to speak with Renkert last week, where the person at the help desk told me she was out sick. The next day, I got the same answer with a “she’ll be out all week” added on. I left my information and number, sent an email, and hoped for the best.

The weekend went by with no reply, so I visited Hutchinson again, where I couldn’t even find anyone at the help desk. I went directly to Renkert’s office and, finding it empty, waited for Renkert. She never came.

Through some research, I found out our school’s Wi-Fi was provided by Trapeze Networks, which was taken over by Juniper Networks. An article on FierceWireless from 2010 covered Kean’s partnership with Trapeze Networks, which was meant to support, “the 15,051 students, the wireless network covers Kean University’s 150-acre campus, including 40 buildings and all the outdoor space on the campus.”

“The new Trapeze Networks wireless network extends connectivity to all our users, wherever they are on campus – 100 percent of the time – making our vision a reality,” said Dawood Farahi, our university’s president.

I ran a test of the university’s Wi-Fi while connected through my laptop in The Tower office using speedtest.net. The Ping, which measures the round-trip time for messages sent from the originating host to a destination computer, came in at seven milliseconds. The download speed was 6.06 megabits per second. The upload speed never went through.

Comparatively, testmy.net puts Montclair State University’s download speed at 15.1 MBPS and their upload speed at 5.9 MBPS. However, the same site ranks William Patterson University at 1.6 MBPS download and 732 KBPS upload speed.

Just for the sake of interest, I took a test at home with my laptop on the second floor and my router on the first. My ping came in at 15 milliseconds, with a download speed of 13.05 MBPS, and upload speed 4.66 MBPS.

These tests are affected by distance from the router and the kind of Internet connection used. And though Kean doesn’t have the worst wifi around, based on the accounts of students and teachers, what we have is not enough.

I can’t speak for the university’s Internet back in 2010, but ever since I came to the university in 2012 connecting to the Internet has always been a hassle. What was supposedly working “100 percent of the time” back then is clearly underperforming now.

When teachers can’t teach, students can’t work, and answers are nowhere to be found, it reflects badly on our university. And the last thing Kean needs is another reason to look bad.

Technology is constantly getting more powerful, and the Internet is always updating. If we don’t improve our wifi, it will only get more difficult to use the Internet on campus.


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