This summer, Northwestern changed Internet providers, increasing the Wi-Fi availability on campus. The change came about after several frustrations with Internet access and Wi-Fi reliability in the past.
NW has an internal campus network that is used to connect files, servers, printers, security systems and phones, among other devices. On this network, students can connect their devices to wireless access points that in turn provide them access to the Internet. The problem in the past was that the number of access points the campus had was not sufficient to cover the number of electronic devices on campus. As technology has continued to increase over the years, the number of devices used on campus has risen. Where students once had a phone and laptop, they now have other devices too.
“Many students bring a phone, tablet, laptop, smart TV and gaming systems that all connect to Wi-Fi,” said Harlan Jorgensen, Director of Computing Services. “This change in our Wi-Fi access points upgraded us to the latest technology that allows more connections and higher throughput per access point.”
The number of access points on campus increased by approximately 40 percent after the completion of the project this summer. The result of this change in access points has led to an increase in the amount of Internet bandwidth used on campus and stronger Internet connection for users. The computer help desk was excited to implement this change to the internet on campus, but had no way to fully test the system until students returned in August.
Now that students have been on campus accessing the Wi-Fi for around a month, the help desk has been able to evaluate the system and has seen positive results, with only a few kinks that need to be worked out.
“We have not had issues with the Internet, but with our campus network delivering the Internet to our users,” Jorgensen said. “Generally this has been brief periods that have happened maybe once a week. We are continuing to work with our hardware vendors to relieve the issues we have seen.”
The help desk asks that any students with issues or concerns with their connection on campus would send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are trying to be as responsive as possible to resolve issues on a timely basis,” Jorgensen said.