Laurier speeds up
Students at Wilfrid Laurier University, particularly those living in residence, will hopefully have a better experience when surfing the web on the university’s internet server. Information Communications Technology (ICT) has increased Laurier’s outbound internet capacity on the Waterloo campus tenfold. Going from one gigabyte to ten gigabytes, the outbound is now aligned with the inbound capacity.
This means that when students are, for example, uploading an assignment to MyLearningSpace or sending an email, the process should be faster.
“We started to bump up against the one gigabyte from time to time,” explained Kenneth Boyd, director of ICT solutions at Laurier.
According to Boyd, their suppliers are generally okay with them exceeding this limit. However, it was when they started to reach this limit more often that they knew it was time to make a change.
“But primarily, the real reason we did this was to give ResNet a better capacity,” he added. “So we’ve redesigned ResNet. It was about 300 megabytes, now its three gigabytes.”
ResNet is the server for the university’s on-campus residences. Boyd joked that it will now support Xbox.
As a reference point, the University of Waterloo provides three gigabytes for 5,000 students, whereas Laurier’s serves the same for 2,400 beds in residences.
“We made the network actually more streamlined,” he continued. “We’ve taken full ownership from end-to-end of ResNet.”
Prior to this, Boyd noted that they were hearing a constant string of complaints from students in regards to the speed of the internet. As such, the change was largely made to provide “a better student experience in residence.”
But students, faculty and staff should also be able to experience a difference when they are using the internet on campus.
Megan Puckering is a third-year don in Waterloo College Hall and commented that she has noticed the internet has improved this year.
“I remember in my first year there were a lot of problems and people were always complaining about it being slow or not working,” she said.
As a don, however, she said there have been very few complaints from her students.
“This is a background piece for an overall improvement that we’re constantly doing,” explained Boyd.
“We spend a significant portion of our capital budget every year just networking and making improvements to the networking. And so slowly, the environment is getting better and better,” he continued.
Part of the reason for this constant push for “better” networking is that students are coming to school with more technology.
“Now [students] have a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, all of which are trying to access the network at the same time,” he said. “We get that. And we’re trying to provide that sufficient capacity for demand that’s really growing exponentially.”