Internet still lacking in some student apartments

By By Rita Totten

By Rita Totten

Students are getting frustrated because Internet accessibility has been less than reliable for residents at the new housing complex downtown.

Mike Walker, information technology manager in Housing and Residential Education, said the problems with Internet access at the new student housing complex is an issue of bandwidth, not accessibility. Walker said there isn’t enough bandwidth to support the number of students accessing the Internet.

“Think of it like a garden hose8212;you can only push so much data (through) a single connect,” he said.

Walker said there was not a lot of time during the summer to prepare the apartments for students to move in because HRE had just recently purchased them to accommodate a constantly growing student body demanding a place to live.

HRE advertised the newly acquired apartments to students as being equipped with wireless Internet.

Dave Record, a junior in biology, said he assumed it would be of similar quality to the wireless on campus.

“Seems like we are paying for something we aren’t getting,” Record said.

Record, who lives in the 43 S. 400 East complex, says his Internet connection varies from day to day. Record moved into the apartment the week before school started and has had sporadic Internet access ever since.

“Some days I can connect, and some days I can’t,” Record said. He estimates he has called the help desk about 10 to 12 times, but backed off a bit once he realized it was out of its hands.

“It’s a little frustrating,” he said. He has to spend most of his time in the library to use the Internet, he said. “The help desk is very helpful, but they can’t do much.”

Each time Record called the help desk, he said he was told someone would write a ticket requesting the issue to be investigated. But with each call, the answer to his problem kept changing. At first he was told it was a hardware problem in the apartment, so IT installed wireless routers in the apartments. Then he was told the issue was on the server’s end. Now IT is telling students the Internet service provider, Qwest, is working on resolving the issue.

“At first you couldn’t get access to the wireless, but now its about reliability,” said Philip Shaw, a roommate of Record’s and a junior in biomedical engineering.

Shaw said he can use the Internet for checking e-mail, but it’s not reliable enough for schoolwork.

The evenings seem to be when most students have trouble with the wireless, because most students are getting home from class, Walker said.
The help desk told Shaw that Qwest is the provider, but Shaw has not been able to speak directly with anyone from Qwest.

“I have been able to finish all my work because I’ve planned ahead, but I’ve been lucky,” Shaw said. “I can see how someone could get stuck if they went without Internet for a night.”

“It was hard to tell the demand until students have moved in,” Walker said. “DSL isn’t cutting it.”

The IT office is working with Qwest to explore other options and upgrades.
“(We) hope to have a better idea in a few days of what options they have as far as upgrade, but we aren’t Qwest’s only customer so it’s taking some time,” Walker said.