It’s 11:55 p.m. and an assignment is due at 11:59. A student is working on an assignment in the library for the past four hours. As soon as they try to submit the assignment via Canvas (a learning management system), it shuts down.
Concerns over FGCU’s WiFi quality has caused a stir among students, even making its way onto Student Government platforms. Back in 1997, when the school opened, WiFi was not an issue.
Over the last 10 years, however, with the boom of technology, WiFi has had to be installed all across campus, according to Sven Hahues, the Director of the Helpdesk and Network Services at FGCU and requires maintenance.
“We are working hard to update the equipment in housing (we redid all of Sovi last year and are redoing all of North Lake Village this summer), as well as working on campus,” said Hahues. “We are currently in the process of redoing Merwin and Lutgert Hall. We hope to have the new equipment up and running by the end of the semester.”
Hahues said he’s seen a rising need for WiFi and in the past few years, the university has taken steps to improve the Internet quality, but there are still dead spots on campus that are a concern for students.
Hahues suggests that students should use Ethernet connections, because WiFi is shared, and has to be shared with everyone using the same router.
“Anyone who works on wireless will tell you that the wireless portion makes it susceptible to interference and it is not a guaranteed service,” Hahues said. “Even if you have a roommate that uses their microwave and the microwave is between you and the access point, chances are pretty good that you will get disconnected.”
“WiFi is a shared medium, meaning all users that are connected to one access point are sharing the service provided by it, said Hahues. “We take reasonable steps to prevent users from impacting other users on the access points, but in the end, if a bunch of people on one AP are all watching Netflix, the performance for everyone on the AP will suffer.”
Concerns over the university’s WiFi has reached Student Government President Jalisa White. In response, White addressed these concerns in her 2018 platform, when she ran for a second term.
“My team and I have looked into ways to make it better through BTS, AETS and other avenues,” White said. “I have heard student concerns about the WiFi and will be looking more into it over next year.”
White says she recognizes that some places have better reception for WiFi than others, and while some places on campus have been revisited and fixed, there are still others that lack reception.
“Some dead spots include the Library Lawn, Cohen Center and a few others,” said White. “I’ve gotten some good feedback from hotspots in places like Sudgen Hall.”
There are a few obstacles in the way of bettering WiFi across campus, but White says that her team is working on it.
“It’s not an obstacle sharing these concerns and collaborating with administration and campus partners on fixing this issue,” White said. “It’s making sure our voice is heard and showing it’s a priority for our students.”