Technology Services continues to update network speeds amid complaints

Andrew Crider, Contributing Writer

This semester, many students have commented on the slow internet speeds on campus – a complaint that is not new to VCU’s Technology services.

“Over the past five years, demands for internet connectivity has increased exponentially, and therefore our capacity has had to increase exponentially,” said Alex Henson, VCU’s chief information officer.

According to Technology Services, plans to improve the campus network speed and reliability are an ongoing process. One constant challenge in running a campus wide network is the ever changing demand for internet access. In 2010, there were 900 internet access points on campus. Now, the average number of devices adds up to 25,000.

Henson said that the demand for internet access has forced Technology Services to continue to upgrade its network.

“We have also made and will continue to make many upgrades to back end campus infrastructure,” Henson said.

These upgrades include new cabling and switching with segmented networks to insure better bandwidth and security.

According to surveys conducted by Technology Services, there has been low satisfaction rates with network speed and reliability since 2009. Although the 6th Annual Student Satisfaction Survey conducted in spring 2014 is still being analyzed by Technology Services, the raw data indicates low satisfaction for network speed and reliability.

Freshmen art major Kaitlyn Quinn said network unreliability causes her extra stress when completing school work.

“It’s kind of frustrating, especially when you have reports or something and you have to look it up and you can’t because your email won’t load,” Quinn said.

According to Quinn, the internet problems vary depending on location, although it seems to be slowest in the dorms.

According to freshman biochemistry major Josh Zhang, faster internet access depends on the time of day.
“I feel like at night it’s much better because less people use it,” Zhang said. “But in the afternoons since a lot of people use it, the wifi kicks you out because there isn’t enough wifi to go around.”

Zhang said that he must to wait until the network speeds pick up before he can complete assignments.

“Sometimes I would have to wait until it gets better, or use the guest WiFi which is risky,” Zhang said.

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