Students Evade Bandwidth With Wireless

The Technology Office is trying to crack down on students who duck the bandwidth limit by logging on to the campus wireless network from their dorms. Students living in Flagstaff Cluster dorms near the library can access its wireless, while Johnson Hall residents have had wireless access in their common room and faculty apartments ever since remodeling last summer. During renovation, the Technology Department decided to install the infrastructure necessary to allow the entire dorm wireless access capabilities for the future. “It is unfortunate that some students are purposefully using the wireless network or computer labs to bypass the current bandwidth policy,” wrote Chris Joel, Associate Director of Network and Systems Services, in an email to The Phillipian. However, according to Valerie Roman, Director of Technology, the school has been unable to find a software system that allows them to track each student’s wireless bandwidth. “We’ve talked to colleges, universities and peer schools like Exeter and Deerfield, but no one can do this yet,” said Roman. Joel said, “Technically it is possible to report on wireless bandwidth utilization although the environment is not currently configured to provide this information. What is not possible is the ability to automate the aggregation of a user’s wireless and wired bandwidth utilization into a single user report.” He continued, “Whether or not this will change in the future depends on several factors including a decision on whether or not the institution determines this to be a necessary function and whether a feasible technical solution can be identified and implemented.” Roman also said that the school is less concerned about finding a monitoring system for wireless than it was earlier this year. “Now that things have calmed down [with fewer students exceeding the bandwidth limit], it’s not that big of an issue anymore,” Roman said. Students with wireless access in their dorms acknowledge the unfairness it presents for other students. Sophia Bernazzani ’10, a resident of Day Hall, said “I see a lot of people in the dorm use wireless only when they want to prevent going over bandwidth or they already have.” Students living away from wireless access are upset by the inequity of coverage. Lauren Kim ’10 said, “The discrepancy between dorms is really big, and wireless internet has added another unfair advantage for some people, even though you can’t help which dorm you get into from the all-school lottery.” Ely Shapiro ’10, a resident of Johnson Hall, said, “I guess having wireless is a perk to being in Johnson. I think it’s better to have one dorm than no dorms with wireless, but it’d also be great to have wireless in all dorms.” Many students think that the school should move towards campus-wide wireless access. Upper Representative Malin Adams ’09 said, “We need wireless in all our dorms. I’m hoping to bring it up in a Student Council meeting.” At present, however, the Technology Office is not working on extending coverage throughout campus. Roman said that the main obstacles of installing campus-wide wireless are financial limitations and the effect installations might have on residential life. “This September we will begin to develop the next five-year Technology Strategic Plan, and I’m sure the expansion of the wireless network will be discussed and evaluated,” Roman said. “The bottom line is we are still looking for solutions. The hope is that we will be able to put something in by next fall that will be able to handle the wireless and the wired internet,” Roman said.