By: Dylan Crooks
It was the first week of the quarter, and Seattle Central student Angus Rush was trying to work on a project with a group of fellow students.
He connected to the SCCC Wi-Fi, loaded up a browser window, and was greeted by a stark “Unable to connect to the Internet” page.
He ended up spending most of his time just trying to get connected.
Gaining access to the Internet on personal devices is a problem many SCCC students face. The process requires connecting to the Wi-Fi network and waiting for the login servers to “push” the login page to your browser. When there is a high load on the network or if your device has a weak signal, this can take some time – if it happens at all.
Student Voices on Wi-Fi
“I try to connect every day, but it takes, like, 15 minutes to get my login,” “I try and load a page, or send a message, and it takes 5 minutes for them to get it, then another 5 minutes for me to get theirs. I’ll see the time that they sent the message was 5 minutes before class, then in the middle of class I actually get the message.I think they need more bandwidth.”
“I only use about 10 minutes of Wi-Fi because it is so slow. The computers that are connected through ethernet are a lot faster.”
“Once school started, I had a few classes and I couldn’t connect from some of them. I could connect from accounting, but in English and business, it didn’t connect at all. In the library sometimes it won’t connect, like the login page won’t show up at all.”
-Dmitri Timerbaev, business student
Due to an increase in student usage, SCCC’s Wi-Fi has slowed significantly since the first week of fall quarter. Some areas at SCCC simply do not have good coverage, and the IT department says they are aware of the problem.
Harriet Wasserman, Director of IT Services at SCCC, explains that she has seen the use of the Wi-Fi go up dramatically in recent years.
“Since we began providing Wi-Fi (about 8 years ago) there has been an amazing increase in demand”, she says. “The biggest factor was the introduction of iPhones. Each of these “grabs” a connection when it comes onto campus. Of course, many students have their own laptops now too. Most of the day we see around 1000 connections going on.”
“We have coverage in the BE, SAM, South Annex buildings, and at the Wood Technology Center. The walls in the Fine Arts building make that building impossible for Wi-Fi reception. The older points in SAM are not performing well, [but] we have new access points and will deploy those soon,” says Wasserman.
“[We also had] a survey by an engineer about a year ago”, she says, “to help us find areas needing new access points. We deployed those in the areas most lacking in coverage.”
The Access Points in the SAM building all need to be replaced, according to Wasserman. The equipment has been purchased, and will likely be installed over winter break.
For now, it seems, SCCC students who want to connect to the school’s WiFi will just have to be patient and wait it out.
If you’re pressed for time and can’t afford to sit around for that magical purple login screen to load, however, do what Angus Rush does and head across the street.
“I try not to rely on [the Wi-Fi at SCCC]. “If I really need reliable connectivity, I go to Panera.”
Wasserman also stressed the importance of student involvement in this project. “We need to be told about areas where people have trouble connecting.”
Students with any tips, questions or problems regarding computer issues are encouraged to contact:
Student helpdesk (BE 1105)
Or the NEED line (934-NEED) which works from a campus phone.
This story was edited by New City Collegian writer Joey Wieser.