The Collegian
Monday, May 20, 2024

Wi-Fi issues frustrate students, disrupt online classes

A malfunctioning access point has caused Wi-Fi problems across campus all week, with increased problems Wednesday, University of Richmond technical support analyst Eli Anderson said. The unreliable Wi-Fi has caused problems for students, especially because many classes are now partially or wholly online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information Services began receiving an uptick in calls regarding internet access at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Anderson said. Although the Wi-Fi has not been working properly all week, Wednesday has been the worst day, Anderson said.

“Today just got really, really bad,” he said.

Access points are hardware devices that allow other wireless devices, such as laptops, to connect to a wired network. Information Services was able to reboot the problematic access point on Wednesday evening and will continue to monitor the connection activity, Anderson said.

“I’m hoping that everything should be taken care of tonight,” he said.

Sophomore Hoor Ul Ain had trouble attending Westhampton College Government Association and first-year orientation leadership online meetings on Wednesday, she said.

Ul Ain had to use her cellular data to join the meetings since she could not connect to campus Wi-Fi, she said.

“I just felt annoyed because I do have limited data,” Ul Ain said. “And I was traveling this month to move in, so I've already used so much of it.”

Other members of WCGA and the first-year orientation team also joined the meetings late because their devices could not connect to the Wi-Fi, she said.

During Ul Ain’s hybrid Macroeconomics Theory class, remote students were kicked out of the class Zoom meeting, she said.

Senior Colin Sparkevicius has noticed the connectivity issues since Sunday, he said. 

Since Sunday, the urwin network that students, faculty and staff use for secure internet on campus often did not allow Sparkevicius’s computer or cell phone to connect, he said. 

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Even if his devices were able to connect, he said, the network would disconnect randomly. 

The internet unreliability was especially problematic because of this semester's emphasis on Zoom and online work, Sparkevicius noted.

“I just have to work on my laptop a lot, especially this semester,” he said. “I have three classes online.”

At first Sparkevicius thought the problem was confined to his University Forest Apartment, but he had the same problems at the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business and Booker Hall of Music throughout the week, he said.

He also noticed that the Wi-Fi problems worsened on Wednesday, he said. He was kicked out of the Zoom call for his Music and the Media in Popular Culture class, alongside about half of the class’s students, he said.

“It's just really frustrating that the connection is so unstable,” Sparkevicius said. “And we also have to attend classes online, and it's just not working.” 

For junior Camryn Williams, the connectivity problems only happened twice. On Monday, while she was doing homework in her UFA, her computer switched from the urwin network to the Richmond network and slowed down, she said. The Richmond network is an alternative network for smart devices and game consoles, such as Apple TVs and PlayStations.

Williams’s computer also did not load slides she needed for her in-person class on Wednesday because it couldn’t connect to the internet, she said. 

After seeing that the connectivity issues were also affecting his peers, Sparkevicius decided to send in a complaint on Wednesday through Spider TechNet, Information Services’ online portal, he said. 

“I got [an initial] response that really wasn't addressing my concerns, just like ‘Do you have an Apple or Windows computer?’” Sparkevicius said. 

But around 6 p.m., he received another response that UR was aware of the campus connectivity issues and a team was actively working on a solution, he said.

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