Slow BobcatNet frustrates students

Slow+BobcatNet+frustrates+students

Hannah Feakes

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This past week, the lack of wireless connection and the snail-like speed of the internet has been worse than usual.

Executive Director of Technology Infrastructure John Scott manages a variety of groups that handle different areas of technology and infrastructure, including networking.

“We were definitely experiencing a problem within our wireless network and the impact was ultimately very widespread and caused outages for many users on the Mount Carmel campus,” he said. “We saw glimpses of the issue late on [Oct. 8 and 9] but at that time we did not have any formal complaints from end-users and decided to continue monitoring the situation over the weekend.”

Scott said the issues continued and even worsened on Oct. 12. At first, Scott said it was obvious that the issue involved many layers of technological difficulties. But once the true problems were found, the connection was stabilized by the following afternoon.

“We continue to monitor and work with our vendors to make sure we do everything possible to prevent this sort of thing from happening again,” he said.

Although BobcatNet is currently undergoing maintenence, many students who are unaware of the attempts to fix the connection are getting frustrated with the wireless.

When freshman Elise Arsenault was asked what came to her mind when she thought of BobcatNet, she responded with: slow, unreliable and poor quality.

Junior Allie Weber, who lives on York Hill, experienced the network problems and expressed frustration when it came time to submit an assignment online.

“BobcatNet has been terrible lately,” she said. “The slow connection takes forever to get Wi-Fi and it is really frustrating when I went to do an online assignment on Blackboard and couldn’t because the Wi-Fi kept disconnecting.”

Freshman Nicole Gacsi, said she blames an overpopulated server for the problems.

“I don’t appreciate it at all,” Gacsi said. “[The internet] is faulty and overpopulated. Too many people use it at once and our class is so big that they can’t handle all of us.”

Scott provided more technical details about the problem and gave a day-by-day report on what went wrong with BobcatNet last week. He explained that all wireless devices “search” between the thousands of wireless access points deployed all around campus in order to access the internet.

“As a device roams and connects to a different access point, it needs to re-associate with our network,” Scott said. “Each time it re-associates, a small, and usually unnoticeable, transaction must occur to ensure that roaming is smooth and the connection stays secure.”

Scott said the issues over the last week and a half were caused by the systems on the back-end of the wireless infrastructure. The solution was found when necessary adjustments were made to the system, according to Scott.

Most of those changes were made late on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and the performance and availability was normal again through the rest of the week.

A majority of students, including freshman Hailey Bergquist, have reacted negatively to the slow connection, claiming it could pose a threat to their grades.

“The [poor connection] is definitely inconvenient,” Bergquist said. “I cannot rely on the Internet to get my work done and I use ‘Webassign’ a lot which means I have online deadlines and I can’t submit my work on time.”

BobcatNet undergoes occasional network maintenance, according to Scott. He said it is not uncommon for the system to experience hardware failures and impact users. BobcatNet is currently in the process of completing a multi-year network upgrade, which Scott predicted would be done over winter break.

“Once complete, we expect even better performance and greater reliability in all aspects of our campus network, including the wireless,” Scott said.

For some students, the lack of internet connection is affecting their opinion of Quinnipiac’s ability to take care of their students and academia.

“It honestly does [affect my opinion of Quinnipiac] because I pay $60,000 a year to go here and I can’t even get good internet,” Bergquist said.

Sophomore Darcy DiModugno said the poor Internet becomes a problem when she needs it to complete something for class.

“When you’re trying to do homework online that is due at a certain point but you can’t because the connection won’t work, it is frustrating,” DiModugno said.

But DiModugno said this problem could be solved if the Wi-Fi was split between grade levels or alphabetically.

“They need to have more than one available Wi-Fi,” she said. “They should find a way to split up students and put them on different servers so not every single person on campus is on the same Wi-Fi…[having] too many people on at the same time is why it is so slow.”

Senior Maggie Cashman lives in a house off campus and compared BobcatNet to her Comcast network at home.

“When I open my laptop at home, my internet has already connected,” Cashman said. “When I’m at school, I have connection issues… I feel like it is impairing my ability to do the work that I need to in class.”