Outdated equipment, microwaves slow down Wi-Fi

Over the summer, Bradley underwent network renovations a demand caused by increasing student enrollment and system users. The goal was to create a faster, more reliable network, and by doing so, increasing the broadband width from 1 billion bits per second (Gbps) to 10 Gbps and Wi-Fi speeds of five gigahertz (GHz).

The upgrades were done by members of the Communication and Engineering Services (CES) team. The CES is an organization whose services span from installing new network systems to maintaining Bradley telecommunications.

While the upgrades focused improving access points in the library, residence halls and academic halls, many students said they havent noticed any significant improvements.

I feel the Wi-Fi is extremely lacking, said Malcolm Ivy, sophomore user experience design major. Its bad in Bradley Hall and the art building [Heuser Art Center].

Sophomore mechanical engineering major Bryce Hastings said he has had trouble connecting to Wi-Fi while on campus.

I love the speed, he said. But I hate the connection.

Although Bradley has finished the bulk of the work that came with the most recent phase of the network upgrade, strides are still being made with various wiring issues. Some campus buildings are older, and difficulties arose due to their infrastructure, according to Rick Sander.

The greatest challenge of the upgrade is wiring of the older buildings, Sander, the director of Communication and Engineering Services, said. Many of the older buildings on campus have wire installed before wiring standards were defined.

Sander explained that timing can create troubles with installing the new network.

Its difficult to have contractors working in buildings during the semester because they make noise, which disrupts classes, Sander said. Cables are laid out in the hallways before installation creating trip hazards, and that’s generally not something that should be done while the university is in session, said Sander.

According to Sander, a majority of the recent network complaints are about the new access points in dorm halls, resulting from interference and students tampering with the access points.

Interference can be caused by microwaves, Bluetooth devices especially wireless gaming controllers wireless printers, wireless routers that are not part of the Bradley wireless network, wireless devices not properly configured – the list could go on, Sander said.

Sander added students should avoid using wireless printers to minimize network discrepancies, especially since wireless printing is not supported on campus.

Students who are experiencing network issues after the system upgrade can contact the Information Resources and Technology HelpDesk at (309) 677-2964, or they can stop by the Technology HelpDesk at the Cullom-Davis Library.