ResLife working to solve wireless Wi-Fi issues

Natalie O'Neil, Contributor

These days an error screen is not hard to come by on the Robert Morris University campus.

For several months now, the Office of Residence Life has been receiving complaints regarding the poor wireless Internet service, ResNet, which is provided to all students.

Students have been experiencing a number of issues with ResNet.  Two of the most common includ videos or other materials not loading for class and the connection timing out during online exams or assignments.

“It crashes every time I’m trying to watch a video for homework,” said freshman Cody Larko.  “Then I have to wait for it to come back on so I can email my professor that I won’t be able to hand it in on time because I can’t watch it because of the school’s internet.”

Many of the issues seem to be coming from Yorktown Hall and apartment-style buildings Lexington, Concord and Salem.

“Through our annual survey and sadly, Yik Yak, we know that wireless Internet seems to be a problem.  It’s a thing that stresses students out,” said Director of Residence Life, Anne Lahoda.  “People are most upset when it has to do with their work.”

‘Yik Yak’ is one of the latest crazes surrounding not only RMU, but other colleges all across the United States as well.  The new social media application is specifically targeted toward college students.  It is designed so that users may post anonymously in a certain location, which in this case happens to be RMU campus.

Lahoda and the rest of the staff at the Office of Residence Life have noticed that a major topic of discussion on the application has been the issue of ResNet not cooperating.

“We had two people that were extremely frustrated send us messages and then on Yik Yak, there seems to be a consistent annoyance with wireless Internet,” said Lahoda.

Since meeting with the Information Technology department, the Office of Residence Life has found the main issue is that there are too many people using Wi-Fi with too many different devices.

“Everyone has a device.  Everyone has an iPad or some sort of tablet.  Every one person on campus probably has ten devices,” said Assistant Director of Residence Life, Ashley Haney. “For one person that’s a lot of devices trying to connect to the Wi-Fi.”

Area Coordinator of Braddock and Yorktown Hall, Lauren Speerhas said that certain tasks could cause the Wi-Fi to lag.

“If they’re playing a video game for a long time, they should be plugged in.  They shouldn’t try to use Wi-Fi on their Xbox or PlayStation,” said Speerhas.

Everyone has multiple devices and everyone wants to be on Wi-Fi all the time.  However, the IT department said that if just a small fraction of the student population started taking advantage of the Ethernet ports in each room, the Wi-Fi connection would improve dramatically.

“Let’s say it’s like a five-lane highway.  There are only so many lanes and so many cars can run smoothly on that highway.  Even if you add a lot more wireless devices and you triple the amount of cars on the highway, you’re not going to add lanes,” said Lahoda.  “So the best bet is to plug-in.”

Due to this, the offices of Residence Life and ResNet have worked together to come up with a solution.

Since there are Ethernet ports available to students in every dorm room, the ResNet Office is now giving out a free Ethernet cable to any student who needs one.   Students can attain any size cord in the ResNet offices in either Yorktown or Lexington.

“The big thing is that we’re trying to remind students that they should be plugging in,” said Lahoda.  “We think that the free Ethernet cords will be helpful.”

In the meantime, the Residence Life staff encourages students to keep bringing issues to the table.

“It’s easier for us to do something about it if we know,” said Haney.  “If students just talk about it on Yik Yak and only converse with each other about it, we never know what the problem is because we don’t live in the halls like they do.”

For more information contact the Office of Residence Life at [email protected].