Laurier’s WiFi woes


Photo by Kash Patel

Internet connection at Laurier has been a hotspot for conversation as students increase their wi-fi usage throughout campus while they take notes in lectures and study for midterm exams.

Laurier was subject to an internet outage last April during the exam period which enraged many students who could not access MyLearningSpace to see course notes or exam study aids on the days before or on their exam.

“Over the summer we spent a large amount of time trying to increase the bandwidth to alleviate the issues we experienced in the past, we upgraded the connection to 10GB from what it previously was which was about five and we added redundancy, before I was here there was an outage so part of what we did so that if Brantford or Waterloo go out of service it will flip over and still have connection between the two,” said Kyle Harris, the manager of ICT administration and communications at Laurier.

“It should prevent those instances from happening, we installed a large [new] number of access points, so we hope to alleviate a lot of issues. At the beginning of the year a few things happened, last week we [discovered] thanks to students that access points had a software bug, so after a certain number of users would log in, after 60 seconds it would start to reboot.”

The internet access issue comes as more students use these access points as the ICT department could not test out multiple users during the last few weeks of summer as few people were on campus and there were not hundreds of users on the same access point.

What we need to do is have the infrastructure but also as the year goes on and events happen all over campus that we have access points available in different areas where students will be.

— Kyle Harris, manager of ICT administration and communications at Laurier

“Despite the fact that we had installed infrastructure to alleviate those problems, we weren’t able to identify those problems because after more than 250 users were on a specific access point that’s when it would stop working, unless we had 250 computers on that in the summer it would’ve been difficult to assess,” Harris said.

“We’ve rolled back all the software to kind of see if it would alleviate the bug, we noticed a significant decrease in the Twitter traffic as well as the service desks complaints after that, so we rolled back the software on all access points to provide more access in classrooms, study areas and dorms.”

Many classes as well as extracurricular activities are based solely online, including online learning classes or even online bachelor of arts programs offered by the university, so it is imperative that the internet access does not have another fiasco like in April.

“Sometimes there are certain instances where it is difficult to assess where areas are going to be extremely busy, like during the first week of school the bookstore, there are a lot of people who are waiting in line and will be trying to access the internet, what we need to do is have the infrastructure but also as the year goes on and events happen all over campus that we have access points available in different areas where students will be,” Harris said.

“If there are continued issues, we ask that we get contacted to put it through the correct channels, but with that being said eduroam will be the preferred network because it is far more secure than laurierwifi and also allows students and faculty to go to other universities who use the network and hop on their wi-fi.”

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