ASU works to improve Wi-Fi, struggles to keep up

Students are unsatisfied with their internet connection

Sitting in class, waiting for the internet to connect and watching the bars on the computer continuously search for internet — it's a common problem among ASU students.

“The ASU Wi-Fi is bad, it’s slow and whenever I try to connect, sometimes is doesn’t let me,” secondary education junior Madeline Messer said. “I think improvements need to be made especially when you’re trying to get work done, you need Wi-Fi to get on the computers.”

According to the University Technology Office website, improvements to the Wi-Fi were made in August 2016 to “enhance security, reliability and stability” to the network.

ASU used to have three wireless networks: the encrypted, ASU and ASU guest network; however, now there are only two networks, ASU and ASU guest.

“The ASU and ASU encrypted network were combined into a more secure encrypted wireless network to basically lock down the universities resources so that students, faculty and staff can access through there,” customer service specialist at ASU, Anthony Carter, said.

Since 2013, ASU has doubled the amount of Wireless Access Points from 4,000 to 8,000 which support 80,000 wireless devices such as laptops, smartphones, clickers and much more. The more Wireless Access Points an area has, the greater and faster the wireless connectivity is.

Despite that, some students say the Wi-Fi is off and on, and where you get connection depends on where you are on campus.

Stephani Knutson, communications sophomore, said that she has strong connections with her internet since her classes are in the main buildings on campus.

“Most of my classes are in main buildings and I feel the Wi-Fi is pretty steady,” Knutson said.

However, Mikayla Lum, elementary education sophomore, says that she rarely gets Wi-Fi connections in her classes in the teachers building.

According to Carter, the most common problems are connecting to the network and having issues connecting to a personal device in the dorms.

Other problems include not being able to log into the network, not being able to find the wireless network and personal devices not showing any available connections.

Carter said since the improvements are so new, it’s hard to know if they have actually enhanced the Wi-Fi.

“It’s really early to determine (if the improvements have enhanced Wi-Fi) especially with a new change to the process, so it’s kind of hard to gauge complaints,” Carter said.

Although Lum struggles with connectivity in her classrooms, she has noticed improvements elsewhere.

“I think I have seen improvements just in the Memorial Union, especially since it’s in the center of campus you would think it would have the strongest Wi-Fi," Lum said. "Last year it was super iffy but now it’s really strong and I get it everywhere."

Another student, Alex Gatti, civil engineering junior, said he saw improvements as well.

“I haven’t seen a significant improvement but I can listen to music at the gym now and that’s enough for me,” Gatti said.

According to Corinna Busciglio, communication specialist for UTO, there are high demands at a university for Wi-Fi and many different components that interfere with internet connections.

“There are also several sources for interference with the ASU Wi-Fi, including wireless printers, adjacent organization/company Wi-Fi networks, personal Wi-Fi routers and even phones with “myFi” turned on,” Busciglio said in an email.

The UTO is continuously finding new ways to improve the Wi-Fi and already has plans for the future in place, according to Busciglio.

Some of the upcoming plans include increasing the network speed to buildings and Wireless Access Points, continue to upgrade the ASU network to support higher gigabyte usage and to upgrade the ASU Border Firewall to support greater than 20Gb to the internet to improve security.

Although many students feel the Wi-Fi is insufficient, Gatti has a different opinion.

“I have a different opinion then most people I feel like, most people don’t like the Wi-Fi but I actually think it’s pretty good,” Gatti said. “Sometimes it has bad spots but my buildings are usually pretty well equipped with Wi-Fi.”


Reach the reporter at bmchugh4@asu.edu or follow @blakelymchugh on Twitter.

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