The Collegian
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Unidentified Wi-Fi problems disrupt community members

<p>Photo by Thomas Jensen / Unsplash</p>

Photo by Thomas Jensen / Unsplash

Wi-Fi issues on campus have disrupted students, faculty and staff since the beginning of the semester.

Information Services sent out several notices through email and Spiderbytes to students, faculty and staff about connectivity issues with the on-campus Wi-Fi network, urwin, writing that there had been no current identification of the problem and that it was working with the network vendor, Aruba, to devise a solution. 

While there has still not been a root cause identified, Information Services is still looking for the cause in order to prevent similar issues in the future, said Greg Miller, director of enterprise identity and access.

“We’ve heard, definitely from students, and also from staff and faculty that it was disruptive for people, and it was enough people to grab our attention,” Miller said. 

He and his team identified the issue on Aug. 23, and received a total of 37 incident reports about slow or no access to the internet. They have not received any new reports or been able to repeat the issue on the devices they have tested since Sept. 6, but announced in an email on Sept. 16, that they have continued receiving reports about the slow or failed connections. Miller and his team have identified macOS users as the primarily affected users.

Information Services recommends using the wired ethernet in the meantime, but some students say it has not fixed the issue. Connecting to the ethernet, restarting her computer, and disconnecting from urwin and reconnecting were some of the solutions that sophomore Lana Vjestica, an employee at the Technology Learning Center, tried, but none of them worked.

“I had trouble just getting onto Blackboard and Google Drive, just doing anything on my laptop,” Vjestica said. “I had been going on for hours, and I couldn’t get any homework done.”

Several people, both through the TLC and personal connections, have asked Vjestica or other employees at the TLC about what they can do to fix internet issues, but the only recommendation is to contact the Help Desk or log on to one of the school computers in the library or one of the academic buildings. 

Not all students have been having issues. First-year Paxton Calder, said that she had not been having issues to the same degree that others she had talked to had. While her connection isn’t perfect, she usually only encounters a momentary hiccup in internet connection as she moves from one physical location to another, she said.

Similar Wi-Fi problems occurred during the middle of the pandemic, in spring 2021. A malfunctioning access point caused the internet to have connectivity issues, preventing students from joining online classes. It has been over a year since the last major incident regarding Wi-Fi issues.

If students and staff run into slow loading on websites, or an inability to connect the Wi-Fi while using campus resources such as Blackboard or Google applications, they are recommended to contact the help desk and file a report.

Contact news writer Grace Allen at grace.allen@richmond.edu.

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