Last week, freshmen Ty Schlechter and Caroline Rau sat in the Schmitt Academic Center (SAC) during the midmorning rush near The Bean, fiddling with their laptops and audibly groaning. They wanted to register for classes, but the Wi-Fi just wasn’t cooperating.
“Around this time, specifically, it’s pretty bad, around 11 or 12,” Schlechter said. “In my English class at 1 p.m., everyone has problems connecting to the Wi-Fi.”
Eventually, Schlechter eked out a signal. Rau, who still couldn’t access the internet, was incredulous.
“Are you serious?” she exclaimed. “Mine still won’t connect.”
Their conversation is hardly a unique one. Nearly two months into the school year, students on campus continue to face difficulties with DePaul’s Wi-Fi networks.
Sophomore Lydea Swit said that though she experienced mild issues while living on campus last year in the Belden-Racine dorm, it’s nothing compared to the problems she’s had this quarter.
“Whenever I’m on campus for classes, my phone will rarely connect to the Wi-Fi. And when it does it will randomly disconnect,” she said. “It’s usually only for a couple of minutes.”
She said she hasn’t run into as many problems on the Loop campus, but added her data signal is usually better there so she may not be as aware of Wi-Fi connectivity. The Student Center, on the other hand, has “no hope” for cell service, she said, adding that the library is another difficult spot to get internet.
Rau and Schlechter both agreed that the SAC is usually difficult to access Wi-Fi, along with their dorm rooms. After a survey about Wi-Fi was sent out earlier this year, the first and second floors of both the SAC and the Student Center were determined to be problem areas for Wi-Fi signal, and high capacity access points were added in an effort to alleviate some of the issues.
“We have received feedback from several departments that some spaces which previously received wireless service no longer have it,” Josh Luttig, Information Services’ director of infrastructure, said in an emailed statement. “This coverage change was anticipated, and caused by the tuning and optimization work we performed over the summer.”
When the Wi-Fi doesn’t work, students are left with little recourse when it comes to fixing the problem on their own. Often, Schlechter said, the best course of action is to simply wait it out.
“I’ll disconnect and try to reconnect and sometimes that works, but sometimes you’ve just got to give it time,” he said.
But sometimes the problems even impede into class time. Rau recounted an incident in one of her earlier classes in which the internet was inaccessible until her professor called for outside assistance.
“In my WRD class it took us all 10 minutes to get on the Wi-Fi,” she said. “And then we had to have tech come in and help even my teacher get on the Wi-Fi.”
DePaul has taken steps to try to combat the issues, including adding access points in areas where the Wi-Fi signal continues to be weak. Information Services also plans to continue adjusting its tactics based on new issues that arise throughout the school year. For instance, Luttig said that the signal disconnect is a result of the authentication needed for the depaulsecure, eduroam and depaulwireless networks, and that the department is currently working toward a solution.
“We have recently been troubleshooting performance issues with the authentication component of the WiFi network,” Luttig said. “This is the piece that validates that your username and password are correct, and that you should be able to use this service. Anyone impacted by this issue would perceive it as intermittent connectivity.”
He added that a service alert has been posted on the Information Services website, and that the site will be updated when the issue is resolved.
In the meantime, Luttig advises that students contact the Technology Support Center of Genius Squad for help with connecting to the Wi-Fi.