Internet Issues Being Remedied
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As I read Westin Brown’s opinion article about the frustration of students with wireless connectivity in the residence halls, I would have to say I concurred with most of it. Students should not have to walk the halls looking for a strong wireless signal or log in three times before getting a connection. And while our IT staff may not experience those frustrations directly, such a level of service falls significantly short of what we in IT strive to provide to our students. The great news is that a project to prevent / remedy these kinds of issues will finally be realized within days of this response. Information Technology has been working with Residence Life for many months to upgrade the wireless network in Towers – a project that will finally be completed perhaps as early as spring break.
With respect to the specific concerns raised, I would offer that when the last wireless network upgrade occurred, the average number of wireless devices per student was less than one – now, the average is more than two (laptop, tablet, phone, etc) – growth that has occurred rather rapidly. Regarding the difficulties with Windows 8, initial versions that were released last fall caused problems for some students which our network team worked quickly to resolve. When Microsoft released its latest update, it chose to remove support for certain security protocols, essentially forcing the replacement of dozens of access points. Fortunately, we had been planning for an upgrade. Unfortunately, it did not come soon enough. Throughout those challenges, our Help Desk has continued to do its best to resolve all issues, helping students get connected at the beginning of the school year, providing assistance to configure special devices like gaming systems, and when the most recent issue with Windows 8 occurred, provided ethernet cables to students free of charge for those that need them.
I certainly understand the concerns and I’m hopeful that within the next few weeks, students in the Towers will have a much better experience. Morse Hall poses different challenges which we will continue to attempt to address. The staff in Information Technology continually strives to provide the best technology experience for all of our students to live and learn at ESU, and we try (and usually don’t) drop the ball. If you, or any of your fellow students have concerns related to how we can enhance our technology services, I’m always happy to meet with you.