UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

UHCL public Wi-Fi lags in efficiency

0 57

The University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) has had wireless internet connection on campus since 2002. Students have not been completely convinced that the Wi-Fi is the absolute best the university has to offer. Some experience sluggish reception and/or encounter ‘dead zones’ on campus where service is nonexistent.

Ashley Gebhardt, communication major, says the Wi-Fi is at its worst in the Student Services Classroom Building (SSCB).

“The connection here in the SSCB isn’t the greatest; it’s extremely slow, but I choose to be here because I can print stuff out,” Gebhardt said. “I guess it’s just one of those techy inconveniences. It doesn’t matter where in the SSCB I am, there isn’t any internet service for me that works with my device even when I’m connected to the public internet.”

Chimezie Onwuzuruike, human performance major, does not think the internet is as friendly on cell phones as it is on laptops.

“When I’m on my laptop, it doesn’t usually give me any issue, and I can do my work regularly, and the internet has average speed, but once I try to connect to the public Wi-Fi on campus, it hates my phone; it makes everything lag, and I don’t see why that is since it worked so well with the computer; they’re both Apple products too,” Onwuzuruike said.

This semester, there has been a new way to enter the UHCL public Wi-Fi (UHCLPublic). It is a page that pops up and asks if users agree to the terms and conditions of using the school’s internet. The choices are “Agree” and “Disagree.” If users were to press “Agree,” then their device(s) will be connected to the school’s internet. If users press “Disagree,” then it simply closes itself out, and they will have no internet connection.

Kellie Gamino, business major, finds it annoying to have to log in multiple times a day on both of her devices. She said she has never actually read the terms and conditions page of the Wi-Fi agreement.

“I assume it is the same as anywhere else,” Gamino said.

Cheyenne Valdez, physics major, has never read the terms and conditions page either and says the Bayou Building gives her better service on campus than anywhere else.

“Hell to the actual no, does anyone ever read the terms and conditions?” Valdez said. “I’ll always select yes, but it’s the biggest lie in my life.”

John Rodriguez, director of support center, and Mike Livingston, director of application development and infrastructure, explained that the current UHCL public Wi-Fi was implemented in late July.

“It is not a new Wi-Fi; it is simply a new page that comes up that people have to respond to, ‘yes I really want to acknowledge and connect to the Wi-Fi,’ so the system is the same it’s just a new authentication request page,” Livingston explained.

Rodriguez said that the Wi-Fi should stay the same, and University Computing and Telecommunicating (UCT) does not try to make major changes very often; it is just to help students and to stay compliant with state auditing rules by accepting the use of the university’s internet.

Students are encouraged to use the private authenticated service (UHCLPrivate), which utilizes the username and password process like in e-services, and extra security is applied. The UHCLPublic Wi-Fi is there for the convenience because students like the ability to quickly hop on to the internet.

Neither Livingston nor Rodriguez were aware that students have been experiencing issues when logging on to the public internet on devices. The main issue is after students click “Agree” on the UHCLPublic Wi-Fi, the agreement page pops up several times, even if they are in the same building.

“That’s relatively new for us to hear, but we do encourage all students to report those issues to our support center on campus; it’s (281) 283-2828,” Rodriguez said. “That way we can try to rectify those as soon as we get those issues, so we can try to fix them as fast as we can, as soon as possible.”

This information can help students whenever they face technological issues and need a quick answer to continue their work.

“We’re here to take requests, but also correct any issues that are reported in what is a timely manner,” Rodriguez said. “Students are always in the computer labs, they could always let the computer staff know the issues but, generally speaking, emailing the support center at [email protected] or calling will get a response just as fast, if not faster.”

Both Livingston and Rodriguez explained why the Wi-Fi is slower in some areas of the campus, for example in the SSCB.

“It depends upon the number of people in the given area that are trying to connect, to the type of devices they bring in; each person could have multiple devices hooked up, so it can vary,” Livingston said. “We do have a project where we are going to start introducing additional access points to try and improve the quality of service based upon the number of people and devices that are there.”

Livingston said to think of the Wi-Fi as a freeway that occasionally gets a traffic jam.

“You have five lanes of traffic flow. In a big city like Houston, it’s the same everywhere, but it depends on the time of day, how much traffic and how many people are actually on that road at that given time.”

This situation also applies to the Wi-Fi. If there is a lot of traffic in SSCB throughout the day, the wireless internet will get jammed.

For students experiencing issues with the Wi-Fi, contact the support center at [email protected] or 281-283-2828.