Austin Keith’s says he has trouble completing assignments that require internet access because Saint Augustine’s WI-Fi is often more crawling than lightning fast.
“The internet is so slow sometimes I have to go somewhere off campus to finish my work.” Keith said.
It may sound like an excuse, but Keith’s complaint is shared by many students, staff and faculty. Problems with slow W-fi at certain times of the day are widespread across campus.
But help may be on the way. The university has been negotiating with several providers – including Cogent Commutations, MCNC and Time Warner Cable – to provide faster, smoother service, according to Greg Hodges, a network administrator at the university.
Officials hope to conclude a deal in the coming weeks. After that, it should take another 60 days to have the service up and running, Mr. Hodges said.
The goal is to make the campus internet up to 10 times faster through fiber optic service that supports connections of up 1,000 megabytes per second (or 1 gigabyte) – much faster than the current service, which provides speeds no faster than 100 megabytes per second.
The university is also seeking more dedicated service lines, which should reduce bottlenecks. Currently, it shares lines with the surrounding community.
These upgrades should relieve pressure on the system during crush times – typically between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., when plugged-in students, faculty and staff use phones, laptops, tablets and other devices to connect to the university’s Wi-Fi network. At the most popular times of the day, speeds can be reduced up to 75 percent, according to Mr. Hodges.
The improvements should make everyone on campus happy. Saint Augustine’s students are happy about the prospect of better service. “Hopefully, with this new source of internet, the Wi-Fi in the dorms and even the library will get a lot better,” said senior Kareem Thomas.
— Blake A. Stacy