By Will Edwards
This article was originally published in Issue 1, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (September 9, 2015). Click here to view the entire issue.
In an attempt to increase local bandwidth capacity, additional wireless routers have been installed in the Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare’s Barbara Walker Breslin Auditorium and in Donahue Hall since the start of 2015, according to the university’s director of information technology, Patricia Clay.
The upgrades are a result of faculty and student requests for a more reliable connection, which Clay says has often failed because of signal-disrupting materials in buildings like concrete and metal, as well as a growing rate of devices connected per person.
“Last year when we did an analysis, we figured that each person in the residence halls had approximately four different wireless devices,” Clay said. “Initially, when wireless was being added to the campus, the process was maybe you would have a laptop and a phone. The world has changed drastically in that time frame… But how is that going to grow? Is that still going to double again, or maybe is it going to taper off?”
Student dissatisfaction with network dependability, particularly in residence halls, was evidenced last fall by a Student Government Association survey which showed that 62 percent of participating students reported being either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with WiFi connection on campus.
In January 2015, single-room routers were implemented in Donahue Hall, a building that has had notable outcry for improved WiFi. Ticketed reports to IT from the building dropped from 44 in the 2014 fall semester to zero this past spring and none so far during the current semester.
Clay stressed the importance of students continuing to file reports, however, including in academic buildings and other shared spaces to ensure timely fixes and alert her department of potential ongoing problem areas.
“If everybody thinks someone else reported it, a lot of times no one reported it,” Clay said. “If you’re having an issue, absolutely put a ticket in… It never hurts anything to report an issue.”
A total of 5,628 tickets have been submitted to the IT help desk so far since January of this year, with a large percentage of them being password resets on the DeSales Portal. Issues with internet connection were reported the third most frequently of all computer- related problems, according to a chart provided by the IT department.
Clay said she and members of her staff will meet with university administrators and academic division heads for an IT summit before the end of the fall semester to discuss a five-year strategic plan for the advancement of classroom technology and wireless capacity.
“We really want you to have a seamless technology experience. That makes our job easier. Then we can work on the next step instead of worrying about making what we already have work.”