by Jake Fraser, staff writer
This summer, Warren Wilson paid $185,000 to install 180 “Enterprise grade” Wi-Fi access points around campus, hoping to remedy patchy signals. The upgrade occurred along with the activation of a fiber optics cable installed last year, doubling our bandwidth (internet speed), from 50 megabits to 100 megabits; Warren Wilson footed an $80,000 dollar investment, and will see a $2,300 reduction in our monthly internet expense.
“It was better last year,” junior Naomi Rivers said.
With complaints of rampant connectivity trouble, many are frustrated and curious as to why the internet is not actually working better, considering its recent makeover. With about six times the router-power in each building and a 200% increase in bandwidth, where is the malfunction?
“I have so much trouble logging in all the time in the village, and this Wi-fi isn’t even organic,” senior Emma Master said.
The hardware installments of a fiber-optics line and Wi-Fi access points came with a software upgrade as well: a required login application to access the internet. The login process provides for a more controlled dissemination of bandwidth. This allows for prioritization of academic internet usage, the inhibition of recreational and non-wilson “guest” use, and more effective interdiction of illegal activity and security-threats. Along with expected benefits,
our new login process has caused a recent trend of unforeseen connection problems.
Those who correctly install the login application, gain regular consistently strong Wifi signal. The new ‘enterprise grade’ signal has been noticeably faster and more geographically accessible than prior years. Unfortunately, many report inconsistent internet access or difficulties installing the application at all, much of this is evidently dependant upon the type of computer used, according to Computer Service Manager David Harper.
“The problem with the Mac’s surprised us, we didn’t see that one coming,” Harper said.
Macs that have inconsistent connections are often caused by incorrect passwords being stored among correct passwords.
A possible easy fix for Mac’s: under network settings, click on the purple “advanced…” button opening a new window, then choose the “802.1X” tab, and delete any saved profiles using the “-” button.
Some have trouble installing the application at all. “I just use my ethernet cable,” dorland resident Benji said. others rely on the “guest profile”
The “WWC Guest” internet profile is limited to a relatively small bandwidth and thus is likely to be extremely slow. Furthermore, using the “WWC Guest” profile prohibits the user from accessing Zimbra Webmail, Moodle, and Campus Web. Taking the time to correctly establish a connection to “WWC Wi-Fi,” is far less time consuming and frustrating than the constant chafing of our stuffy-nose internet that everyone is reluctantly sharing: “WWC Guest”
Not all were displeased at the change. Faculty members have reported faster speeds and a greater coverage area since the upgrades, most notably in Jensen Lecture Hall.
“My internet works great, it’s a lot faster,” student Rob Compton said. Some students had no problems with the initial login setup, or thereafter.
While the upgrades came at an expense, wireless internet connectivity has become available in places that had previously lacked signal strength or signal at all. The inability to access reliable Wi-Fi in resident halls such as Sunderland and Dorland, and academic buildings such as Jensen Lecture Hall, will no longer pose a problem to our academics.
Regardless of computer type or computing capabilities, computing services can help with nearly any connection problem, so long as it’s not romantic.
“I don’t want anyone stewing in silence,” David Harper said.
David Harper invites students to contact computing services with any and all connectivity issues, confident that his crew is equipped to handle most all internet problems. If you find yourself, or someone you care about excommunicated from the matrix, and wish to return, contact ext. 3094