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CSU takes on connection problems with Wi-Fi

The inability to connect to Wi-Fi has become a growing issue for an increasing number of students. To address persisting Wi-Fi problems around campus, the University Technology Fee Advisory Board has approved an upgrade for the current wireless network services.

Each day, about 50 people have problems accessing the Wi-Fi inside the library, according to Alexander Manigault, help desk employee and sophomore art major.

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To accommodate the growing number of students who experience Wi-Fi problems, CSU is currently in the process of adding a new higher capacity network to all general assignment classrooms.

According to Greg Redder, Academic Computing and Networking Services IT supervisor, the wireless network problems that some students experience are due to an overload of the main network, csu-net.

Currently CSU is installing a new network called csu-net5 to address the issue.

The original network, csu-net installation was completed around campus about four years ago. Redder said that the frequency is over saturated in many places across campus, due to the capacity of the network.

“Because of the Wi-Fi problems in the library, I never bring my computer anymore,” said Kelly Cochran, senior communications major.

She has adapted to the problem by using the library computers instead of her mobile device.

“It is kind of frustrating that I can’t bring my own computer,” Cochran said.

According to Redder, the University Technology Fee Advisory Board (UTFAB) originally paid to have general assignment classrooms covered with the support of the csu-net network around the campus. They then instituted csu-net5, but it hasn’t been implemented across campus.

In response to the current network limitations, UTFAB approved moving this process forward by upgrading general assignment classrooms to to the new network.

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Redder said that most student’s connection problems can be solved by logging on to the new network csu-net5. According to Redder, that network can handle more traffic.

Redder added that the Network Operations Center (NOC) staff is starting the upgrade in Clark C this month and that Clark A will be finished over winter break.

However, even when the network is installed some students may not be able to use the network.

“If you don’t have a 5GHz radio in your device, you won’t see csu-net5,” Redder said.

A 5Ghz radio is a specific Wi-Fi device that is capable of connecting to csu-net5. Some older computers and low-end device may not have the hardware required to connect to the new network.

Current statistics show that most students do not log on to the new network. On Oct. 5 at 1:15 p.m.,  1,703 wireless devices were connected to Wi-Fi, of those, 910 were using csu-net and 793 were using the newer network, csu-net5.

Of the 1,703 wireless devices, 671 were not capable of connecting to the new network csu-net5. According to Redder, this is a typical day in the library.

If students want to connect to the new network they should try logging on with their device. The new network has seven times more channels than the old network, csu-net.

Although the new network has a higher capacity, it still has drawbacks. The new networks range is shorter than the previous networks, and may cover a shorter distance.

“Problems need to be reported to the IT help desk in the Morgan Library,” Redder said. “Wireless is a challenge and without problems reported at a central location, we have a hard time fixing them or even knowing about them.”

Collegian Reporter Shawn Brown can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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