EDITORIAL: Campus WiFi outages need urgent fixing
Throughout the last week or so, internet access through eduroam on campus has been intermittent. The spotty WiFi on campus has been an ongoing issue affecting students, faculty and staff. This has been a noticeable problem on campus for a while, but connection has been particularly unreliable as of late. Brandeis Information Technology Services had acknowledged the “intermittent connectivity issues” as early as the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 12, but this problem has persisted. These connectivity issues coincide with the completion of scheduled maintenance to the campus wireless network, which ended on Nov. 12. As of the time of this issue’s publication, no campus-wide communication about these internet lapses has been sent.
As access to quick, reliable internet connection is important for students, faculty and staff on campus on a daily basis, this board calls on the University and ITS to address the ongoing connectivity issues and to implement change that will avoid future outages or problems. For students, the ability to access the internet is important, as a lot of a student’s academic tasks are conducted online, including sending emails, accessing databases for research or even utilizing online resources such as Google Drive and LATTE for class work and assignment submission. Additionally, this board recognizes that not every student comes to Brandeis with the same financial resources, and although some students have unlimited data and can use hot-spots to get by during outages, others are unable to do so. As the internet has become such an integral part of the student experience, this board urges the University to address these WiFi issues swiftly to ensure accessibility and equity on campus.
This board acknowledges the fact that it can be difficult to provide fast and consistent internet connection to so many wireless users across campus and understands that sometimes unexpected issues can arise, but when future interferences to connectivity do occur, this board urges ITS and the University to communicate these problems more effectively to the campus community. Now, the most prominent communication is a small notice on the Brandeis Shibboleth login page alerting the campus community to the internet issues. This system poses some other problems, considering internet access is required to see these notices. A more direct communication would allow students and faculty to conduct their work accordingly and would assuage the panic that can come when internet issues cause unforeseen challenges, such as being unable to submit an important assignment through LATTE or being unable to send an email to a professor, teaching assistant or supervisor. Currently, community members can subscribe to email updates from ITS, but these are no substitute for community-wide updates that ensure faculty, staff and students all know about and have record of any connectivity issues.As consistent access to reliable internet connection is an important student concern, this board calls on the University and ITS to invest time and resources in resolving the ongoing connectivity issues and to make the necessary changes to ensure that students, faculty and staff are able to have consistent access to the internet.