Bad connections on campus leave students wanting faster experiences


It seems to be the latest pet peeve among Red River College students.

Students at the Roblin Centre say the Internet has been spotty this year.

“Both the Wi-Fi and the ethernet have been inconsistent,” said Kyle Kriellaars, a first-year business information technology student. “At times it’s fast, but other times it’s snail’s pace.”

Kriellaars said the slow connections are affecting some of his classes.

“It’s causing troubles because you need to access the Internet for a few assignments,” he said. “And there’s nothing (the instructors) can do about it because they have the same problems. They can’t even pull up their slides sometimes because of the Internet.”

Nicholas Dueck, another first-year student in the BIT program, said he had a scare recently while he was writing an online test.

“I had just typed out the entire test … It was all on the computer and the Internet failed,” Dueck said. “There was no way to submit the test, but then luckily we had an (ethernet) cord that we could plug in. But if that didn’t work I would have been screwed — I would have gotten zero on the test. It was quite an ordeal.”

Part of the problem may be the design of buildings on campus. John Pura, the media technician at the Roblin Centre, said a heritage designation protects some areas, meaning wireless routers sometimes cannot be installed.

In other parts of the buildings, one router covers a large area. For instance, room W112 and the TV studio rely on the same router, despite two walls dividing the rooms.

Brian Acland, the manager of net- works and communications at the Notre Dame Campus, said there are several objects that can interfere with a wireless network.

“Other important factors to consider are machinery and equipment installed in the building that may generate interference in the same RF (radio frequency) spectrum that the wireless network operates in. Microwaves and cordless phones are a typical example of equipment that can cause interference with wireless networks,” he said in an email.

He said that there is now more demand for a strong wireless network. “With the growing use of wireless networking by portable computing devices— everything from laptops to phones to tablets that use wifi now—the demand for a strong, stable wireless connection has risen and a basic level of coverage is no longer sufficient,” he said.

He added that improving and updating the current system would be a “multi-year multi-phased project” that would require “an enormous amount of work.”

Meagan Radford, the IT support specialist for the Creative Arts department, submits case logs to the ITS department at NDC whenever a student files a complaint.

“Submitting a case log describing the problem a student is experiencing with the Internet at the college is necessary for ITS to realize there is a problem that needs attention,” Radford wrote in a text message. “Each student who experiences a problem should submit a case log.”

To submit a case log, students can log in to the RRC HUB website and click on the case log link.

The ITS department also encourages students to use an ethernet cable whenever possible, especially when working with large files.