What’s Up With the Wifi?

There is a project that needs to be done. You log into your device and open up your google doc. The loading circle starts spinning. 5 seconds later, it’s still spinning. Then, black. “No internet. Try: -Checking the network cables, modem, and router – Reconnecting to Wi-Fi,” you read. Are you going to bother trying to get work done? No, you press [space] and play the dinosaur game.

The wifi is such a large part of IACS: we use Gmail, Google Classroom, Google Drive, and most importantly, e-hallpass. Occasionally, there are issues with the wifi.

On the wifi, Junior Hannah Richman said, “It don’t work. The wifi kinda stops loading and the dino game pops up. Things start, load, and never load, and I have to use data on my phone and I have limited data.”

“There are many steps between any given website and your computer or phone, and any one of those steps that’s bad will result in bad wifi”

The wifi network is a pretty complex system, IACS director of technology Thomas Hinkle (aka the wifi man) explained, “When people say the ‘wifi is bad,’ what they mean is that the internet isn’t working well. There are many steps between any given website and your computer or phone, and any one of those steps that’s bad will result in ‘bad wifi,’ whether that be a problem with an individual browser, a problem with a part of our local network, or a problem with our internet connection.”

The IACS wifi speed cap

The school has taken actions to improve the quality of the wifi. “We’ve worked with consultants, but they have not succeeded,” Hinkle said, “They will come again in February and maybe we’ll be able to make some changes over break. Our network doesn’t fail across the board. It seems to work well in Landberg hall and the library.” He also says that the school is looking to upgrade the bandwidth for next year.

Another junior, Christopher Sano, said, “Usually it’s [the wifi] good. [Problems happen] always every other week or the week when everyone has a project at the same time and nothing loads.”

Responding to that statement, Hinkle says that he is unsure whether or not that may be the case, but he has observed “in room 241, the network possibly got bad because of a lot of people connected to one access point. Usually, a lot of devices are on the network, but not all are doing things. It’s totally possible that when all devices are connected and doing things, the system may get overloaded.”

Earlier this year, in the fall, there was an issue where Windows devices had trouble connecting to the internet. Hinkle theorized that the issue was with the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server. Changes were made to it and the problem seemed to resolve. While that was the case, he said, “It doesn’t make sense to me why only one type of device would be affected.”

The wifi may be one of the biggest mysteries of IACS. That’s a fact.

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