Wireless internet upgrades promise improved campus-wide coverage
Student Technology Services spent the summer revamping Washington University’s wireless networks to provide faster and more reliable connections and eagerly awaits student and faculty feedback.
Following complaints of dead spots and students being kicked off the wireless network, STS introduced the new “wustl-1.0” and “wustl-2.0” networks to replace the old “WUFI” and “WUFI-S.” The changes were made with an eye toward an easier and simpler network experience.
STS Director Barb Braun said that a trial run of the equipment was completed last spring in Gregg and Lien Houses and that STS never had a recorded drop-off.
“We were having trouble with students getting dropped off, and [the new network] was amazing. We are hoping that they see an increased service and a consistent service, but if we find that they are not, we need to know so we can tweak those things,” Braun said.
Braun warned that while STS never hopes for dead spots, they can exist simply because of the layout of the building. Older buildings with thick concrete walls, a microwave running in the same room and even mirrors on the opposite side of a wall can cause holes in coverage.
The new “wustl-1.0” is located primarily in residential areas while “wustl-2.0” can be found in the Danforth University Center, Olin Library, Simon Hall and other areas. The “wustl-encrypted-1.0” and “wustl-encrypted-2.0” networks replace the old “WUFI-S” directly, but Braun said that most students shouldn’t need to use those and that even STS does not use the encrypted network versions.
This year, many returning students have not had to register their devices again, according to Braun.
“We took all of [returning students’] registered devices from last year and pre-registered them. So if you are a returning student with the same device, you may not see any changes because we have dumped that registration into the new bucket,” Braun said.
However, some students report having to re-register their devices this year.
Students and faculty who are registered for “wustl-1.0” will not have to register again to connect to “wustl-2.0.” In addition, WUSTL Key users will no longer have to register their devices again once their password changes; the system remembers devices on the back end.
“On the back end of our wireless system is a registration system so we know who is on our network so we don’t have just anybody walking onto campus connecting. We have replaced that system with a very simple one so that the steps to get on don’t have to be 27 different things,” Braun said.
“WUFI-S” will be eliminated later in the fall once returning students and faculty have had the chance to become familiar with the new networks.
So far, students have been generally positive about the changes.
“I live off campus so I don’t use WUSTL networks all the time, but I was here for the summer and logged into ‘wustl-2.0’ often,” senior Danny Corin said. “I was in Village East the other day and was a little surprised when I only found ‘wustl-1.0,’ but logging in was still pretty straightforward, and I didn’t have many problems.”
Junior Karuna Tirumala said that although she didn’t initially realize that the South 40 and the rest of campus had different networks, she hasn’t had any connection issues yet.
Junior Divya Rayapati said she has not yet used “wustl-2.0” but that “wustl-1.0” has worked well so far.
“Students need to tell us if they are experiencing problems with wireless. If they don’t tell STS, we can’t help them,” Braun said. “Come in and speak to somebody or send us an email at [email protected] so we know what’s happening.”
Additional changes from STS over the summer include an updated GO WUSTL webmail client and scanners in each residential computing lab, as well as the Adobe Creative Suite. A new collaborative learning computer lab is also set to open in Eliot Hall in early September.