Students who returned to VCU this fall may have noticed a difference in the university’s Internet connection.
WiFi network VCU SafeNet is taking over as the school’s primary network. The transition is causing a slowdown with regular network access and has to do with authentication issues in the updated SafeNet network, said Sam Kennedy, assistant director of user services of VCU Technology Services.
“In December, SafeNet will fully replace the VCU network. Right now, we’re still getting the authentication issues resolved,” said Kennedy, who also added the higher level of encryption as a key to the switchover decision.
Kennedy also said that cost was not at factor in the decision to switch servers.
SafeNet, which as been used by VCU for two years, offers the advantage of only requiring one login per device. After the initial login, the network will automatically connect to the server every time until a student’s eID password has been changed.
The Current VCU and Guest networks required students to enter personal info each time they accessed the systems.
Though SafeNet has some advantages, students have become frustrated with accessing it so far this semester. Sophomore John Maitland, a graphic design major, said he had problems connecting to both SafeNet and the regular VCU network during the first week of classes.
“I assumed it was because of the amount of traffic trying to access the network,” Maitland said.
Other students like Alex Kolotos, a cinema major starting his senior year, have looked to their smartphones when their computers could not connect. Kolotos said that tactic didn’t help him escape the problem.
“Recently I can’t connect as easily on my phone. I have to enter my info each time I want to log on. Maybe it’s just me,” Kolotos said.
Although SafeNet to this point has been just an option for students, Kennedy said the transition will benefit students.
“It’s more secure. It’s about providing a safer experience for folks,” he said.