Wi-Fi connection issues abound

Network updates may help, but won’t resolve unsatisfactory internet

BY ERIN ALBRIGHT, staff writer
Newswire photo by Desmond FischerWith an increase in online usage this semester, students have grown vocal about the connectivity problems with Xavier Wireless.
Chief InformationOfficer Jeff Edwards admits that while some W-iFi updates are due, most campus’ connectivity problems have been the result of rouge networks.

As students notice increased internet connectivity problems across campus, the Information Technologies (IT) staff is confident that these complaints are largely due to students’ personal   networks impeding Xavier’s Wi-Fi.

Common problems cited by students include losing connection when moving from building to building, experiencing slower response times and difficulty connecting to Xavier Wireless. 

Sarah Seward, a first-year communications major, commented on her frustrating experiences with Xavier’s wireless networks. 

“It’s annoying how it’s supposed to work everywhere on campus and it doesn’t,” she said. “It also bothers me that it never connects to my computer, and I have to use my hotspot, which wastes my data.” 

Chief Information Officer Jeff Edwards said that students’ issues with the Wi-Fi are troubling since the school has consistently invested in upgrading its network.

“Every year we allow our internet service provider to give us as much bandwidth as we can get… this ensures Xavier has the most adequate internet access on campus,” Edwards said. 

When asked what has been causing problems with Wi-Fi connection, Edwards explained how rogue wireless networks typically create conflict with the school’s high speed network. 

“In residence halls, there are typically rogue wireless networks that students brought from home. These devices can be printers, wireless routers and gaming consoles, and (they) all block the students’ normal ability to get on the wireless network,” he explained.  

Edwards said that the rogue networks need to be located and the students in possession of the devices must turn them off so they aren’t interfering with Xavier’s wireless network. 

In addition to rogue networks impeding fast network connection, students also expressed an inability to reconnect to the Wi-Fi when moving from one building to another on campus. 

“Sometimes there isn’t a clean handoff between the buildings. In order to reconnect in the new building, you must disconnect and then try connecting,” Edwards admitted.

Edwards continued to describe the future upgrades which are scheduled for Xavier Yard and Fenwick Hall. He anticipates that these improvements will benefit students as they host events outside in compliance with social distancing protocol. 

The Xavier Yard’s upgrades are currently in progress and Edwards assured that events taking place towards the end of October will have full Wi-Fi accessibility. 

“The outdoors is long overdue and hasn’t had an upgrade in a very long time,” Edwards said. 

“A lot of students have adopted the Campus Groups app to work with Student Affairs, and that app was not really available outside previously,” he continued. 

Every four years the campuses’ wireless network is refreshed. Most immediately, Fenwick Hall will undergo upgrades over winter break and the Commons Apartments will receive upgrades next summer. 

Many students felt that the addition of more online classes has caused a decrease in network speeds. However, Edwards assured that the increase in network usage from online learning hasn’t impacted the Wi-Fi. 

Instead, Edwards’ reemphasized the importance of turning off rogue networks in residence halls.

In previous years, the IT team had been able to go through the dorms to help students turn off their rogue networks. Due to COVID-19, they are unable to do this in-person, but students have the option of calling the IT Desk for help. 

For now, students are encouraged to turn off their rogue devices to decrease signal broadcast, as well as practice appropriate reconnection strategies when moving around campus while awaiting upgrades in the buildings to prevent user-error.