POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — In these modern, technological times, staying at a hotel usually includes free Wi-Fi service. Commonly described as a “hotel” by many of its residents, Building A of the North End Housing Complex at Marist College has fallen down on that job.
While the internet connection lingers at “one bar” on most days, phone calls are being dropped left and right. The words “no service” have become commonplace on most cell phones in Building A; poor cell service has become something that is simply accepted in the new dorm building.
“All of my phone calls in this room disconnect or are breaking up constantly,” junior and Building A resident Taryn McCleary said. “My friend across the hall has no service for phone calls whatsoever, she has to go to the front of the building to make calls.”
Personal and academic lives are being affected by these technology issues: a simple phone call home to parents is becoming one of the toughest tasks of all for residents.
Though laptops are impacted less by the Wi-Fi issues than phones, it seems to depend on the exact location in the building. This means that online quizzes and other timely assignments are proving to be difficult for residents in the building.
“It’s really annoying, especially when I need to quickly check a group project or send a quick email for school: the Marist network is so slow,” junior and Building A resident Troy Demers said. “It feels like it holds me back from my full potential at times when it’s not working properly.”
Fox Run, an apartment complex located just off campus and housing many Marist students, seems to have their Wi-Fi situation covered. With internet routers in multiple locations throughout the building, residents are completely covered and free of dropped calls, regardless of their location in the building.
“In Fox Run, they have routers all over the place,” McCleary said. “Students can connect from anywhere and the location doesn’t matter.”
Across the way in Building C, residents aren’t experiencing nearly the same magnitude of issues regarding the cell service and Wi-Fi.
“The Wi-Fi is good in some areas of the building,” junior and Building C resident Nina D’Amore said. “In my apartment, and in other spots, the service sometimes goes in and out, even in my own room.”
The Information Technology (IT) department handles these issues on a daily basis, managing 900 access points and 7,000 user devices on campus. After receiving a request about an issue, the department is usually able to fix the problem on the same day. In responding to a call in Building A about poor Wi-Fi and cell service, Network and Security engineer Justin Swigart, accompanied by a student working alongside him, assessed the situation.
“What we did was a wireless survey,” Swigart said. “There are…a lot of moving parts in the [Wi-Fi] transaction, which makes troubleshooting it difficult at times; every group of students has a different set of needs due to their particular devices and how they use them, so we were able to determine that with our tools.”
After the wireless survey was complete, Swigart decided that it was necessary to boost the access point, seeing that the coverage was too short for the apartment’s specific needs.
“The adjustments we made will work, but may not work for the next set of students that live there,” Swigart said. “This is because it is very dependent on what devices are introduced to the airspace and those particular users’ needs.”
With the IT department working hard, Wi-Fi and cell service issues can be cleared up, but only if those experiencing issues reach out. The department depends on students to make them aware of these problems, as technology issues differ from room to room, not within the dorm building as a whole.