Students and faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette experienced a series of issues with one of the main campus Wi-Fi networks as the spring semester began.
‘GeauxWifi’ serves as the common Wi-Fi network that teachers and students use on campus; however, on Jan. 11, connection troubles occurred that caused a disruption in the communication and learning process.
According to UL Lafayette’s Director of Network Services Robert Young, many devices were given incorrect roles as they logged on and tried to use the Wi-Fi. Most of the users were identified as “Not Allowed”, which meant students and faculty weren’t allowed access to the network.
“When someone attaches to the Wi-Fi network, they are categorized as a type of user like student, staff, guest, not allowed, etc. The issue was many devices were getting the wrong ‘role,’” Young expressed. “When it became apparent that the issue may persist beyond the start of, a temporary solution was created to get through that critical time.”
The IT department created a new network called ‘Ragin Cajuns’ for the time being; however, they did not see it as a long-lasting connection method for the university.
“This was activated as a temporary solution only because it does not fulfill all the requirements of the University’s network,” Young shared.
Although students are still using the network, some have expressed their conflicts relating to getting things done efficiently without a dependable internet connection.
Zozo Huval is a UL Lafayette graduate student who underwent some Moodle complications during the first week of school. According to Huval, her teacher could not upload the syllabus before starting the semester, and it took some time for her and her peers to know what was due for the class.
“I was, like, irritated because of accessibility issues. And a lot of people do rely on the internet, like the Wi-Fi, to do things,” Huval said.
Grace Braquet, a UL Lafayette junior, switched her major from architecture to psychology; therefore, she spent most of her first week trying to switch classes during the Wi-Fi crisis.
“It was very hard because I was on the very last dates to switch classes, and the Wi-Fi was not doing what I needed it to. I was like ‘this is already an impossible task,’ and then the fact that I don’t have the internet to accomplish it made it even more stressful,” Braquet said.
With many classes turning to an online instruction method for the first couple of weeks of the semester, students with a mixture of in-person and online classes have had to struggle to find a way to go from an on-campus class to classes on Zoom with an unreliable wireless connection.
Not only do students have to deal with the issues in academic and social buildings on campus, but on-campus living places have been having connection problems as well.
Braquet expressed her complications with transitioning from one class to another whenever the classes were two different methods and the internet was not working properly.
“I was on campus for one class, and then I had an online class the next hour. So I hopped on my computer and found a spot, but my stuff kept going in and out, and everyone was texting on the Zoom, ‘Sorry, the internet is being crazy, and we’re just trying to figure it out’,” Braquet said.
Callie Shepherd, a UL Lafayette junior, lives in the Legacy Apartments, and shared her difficulties with the internet connection in her own home.
“Half of the time my phone or my laptop switches to data because it gets kicked off the Wi-Fi. Almost all of my classes but one are on Zoom, so I have been kicked out of Zoom before because of the Wi-Fi, which was frustrating,” Shepherd said.
Although only one other similar incident occurred previously in the university’s history, according to Young, students expressed the university’s need for a single network with minimal to no issues. Instead of creating a new network, some suggest building one that could withstand student and faculty desires and fulfill tasks dependably and efficiently.
“Like why can’t they just focus on making one awesome, great connection?” Huval said.