Wi-Fi network to improve by May

Published by Savannah Peterson on

Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Wi-Fi connection at UCC has been a prevalent problem recently for students, staff and faculty. When students can’t connect to Wi-Fi to work on their assignments, attend meetings over Zoom, or submit their work, suddenly connection to Wi-Fi means a lot more than just scrolling through social media.

It’s easy to blame internet service providers or equipment for faulty Wi-Fi connections, but Rachel Pokrandt, president of UCC, thinks differently; “It’s our problem, so let’s fix it. When you accept responsibility and ask questions, you can find out what to fix.”

To figure out the culprit for campus Wi-Fi issues, Pokrandt had the campus’s 37 Wi-Fi devices checked. “We had a professional from Portland visit campus for two days,” Pokrandt says. The professionals investigated each network device to figure out the problem and provide suggestions on how to improve it. 

The improvement won’t stop with the campus site check. “We are going to look at different infrastructures,” Pokrandt says, focusing on better network systems for students, staff and faculty.  

New wireless infrastructure would enhance Wi-Fi and technology use among UCC wireless networks. 

New wireless infrastructure is needed due to system usage growth. Tim Hill, UCC director of information technology, says, “The main issue that we have is we opened up the Wi-Fi to allow everyone on it, so it saturated the network.” 

In addition, Pokrandt explains, in the past three years since the pandemic, Wi-Fi routers have been overloaded due to more Zoom meetings, growth in online courses, the addition of blended learning, more online assignment submissions and increases in other internet-based campus work.  

The outdated, overloaded routers aren’t the only issue.  

“These older buildings have metal beams, which block the Wi-Fi connections,” Pokrandt says.  

In addition, “the layout of the smaller buildings on campus, as opposed to other college campuses, (means that) it is not just one big central building (network), so (the solution) may take longer, however, we hope for a majority of the issues to be solved by May,” Pokrandt says. 

The pandemic has also affected the delay of production and shipping for technical equipment, Hill says, “The new devices for the buildings are on backorder, so the date (to update the system) keeps getting pushed back.” 

“The equipment that (the Portland professionals) loaned us we started putting in March 22, and it was 41 new devices. We are supposed to get more at the end of March, but it has been pushed four times now,” Hill says. 

If students are experiencing difficulties connecting or getting dropped from the Wi-Fi, some help is available. “Please call the IT help desk; it helps us if we can pinpoint where you are,” Pokrandt says.  

Hill also advises students having Wi-Fi issues to get in touch with the IT help desk located inside the library in the room behind the check-out counter.  

Visit the IT help desk, to submit a portal request, or call 541-440-7808.  

By students, staff and faculty communicating with the IT department about their experiences, IT staff can fix the issues faster; “be a part of the solution,” Pokrandt says. 

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