This past December, UNO, along with the other University of Nebraska campus’, removed their campus-based Wi-Fi services and instead opted for a nationwide Wi-Fi known as EduRoam.
The European-based Wi-Fi company prides itself in its ability to connect people as they travel from campus to campus without having to get new guest credentials. While the Wi-Fi service benefits are for those who are traveling abroad, the response from students using Eduroam on campus have been mixed.
Senior McKenzy Parsons has not had any problems using the Wi-Fi on campus for classes, but has had issues using the system while running the TV program, The Omaha News. The Wi-Fi switch has had issues communicating with the programs from building to building and has made her job more difficult.
“The teleprompter worked just fine on the secure [old] Wi-Fi, and since we switched the Wi-Fi the buildings are not communicating properly with one another,” Parsons said.
Every semester, around 2,000 new and transfer students come to the UNO campus; adding a mixture of phones, laptops and gaming consoles which can slow the network down if not properly prepared for the uptake in streaming devices. This already adds onto the nearly 15,000 students already at UNO who have their own devices throughout campus and the residence halls.
UNO’s Information and Technology Services has set up 950 wireless access points throughout campus including classrooms and public spaces, but does not include residence halls to accommodate the load of students and their devices.
Sophomore Taylor Habrock has had to find alternatives to Wi-Fi in public places on a campus that claims to be more than capable to provide Wi-Fi services to the UNO community. Habrock has been having “constant connection issues” with connecting with Eduroam.
“Sometimes it will randomly disconnect, reconnect, and say it doesn’t have signal,” he said.
Habrock has had problems connecting in the Criss Library and the Durham Science Center. This has led to him having issues turning in assignments in on time and has been forced to resort to using a hotspot off his phon, which costs him money.
The decision to switch to Eduroam was chosen in part in order to provide a consistent internet experience between the NU Universities. The service also allows for visitors to the university to log onto university Wi-Fi using their home credentials; and vice versa for UNO students, faculty and staff using UNO credentials.
Habrock has only rarely taken advantage of Eduroam’s benefits.
“I do work with another student from UNL on a project where we occasionally visit each other’s campus, [it’s] rarely something that we take advantage of,” he said.
Andrew Buker, assistant vice president of UNO’s infrastructure services defends the implementation of Eduroam in a statement that during this past January, “more than 1,300 devices from UNO connected to Eduroam at other institutions in eight countries and more than 1,500 visiting devices from other institutions connected at UNO from 19 countries.”
Concerning the Wi-Fi outages connected to Eduroam, Brucker said the following in the same statement, “We proactively and continuously monitor the campus network, both wired and wireless, to ensure the bandwidth and capacity are available to meet the needs of the campus community.”
Brucker said the old UNO Secure Wi-Fi will be available until May 19. At that time, eduroam will become the exclusive method for students, faculty and staff to access the UNO Wi-Fi system.
Parsons is thankful IT is looking into the issues surrounding the new Wi-Fi, and hopes it will be fixed quickly.
“Who knows when it will finally be resolved,” she said.