Friday, April 13, 2012

What's with the WiFi on campus?

In the internet age nothing can be more frustrating than sitting next to someone online and being unable to get online yourself despite having the requisite technology to do so. In classrooms and hallways across LBCC campus WiFi deadzones abound, and many a wary student has fallen into one while attempting to retrieve their homework online while walking down a hallway or trying to look up a source for a paper in class.

Sitting between two Mac uses, one student on a Macbook Pro and another on an IPAD 3. One begins to wonder why some devices have no issue connecting to LBCC wireless portal and others couldn’t connect if their life depended on it. Zipping along on a Samsung Galaxy tab, thank you LB bookstore, my neighbor , asks “Are you online, because I can’t seem to connect and it is really frustrating”.

While the Galaxy tab had no problem at all connecting to LBCC’s web-portal both of the Mac users were able to see the wireless connection but were unable to connect to LB’s webportal. The two students looked like kids standing outside of a candy shop with no money to spend on the delicious morsels just a glass panel away. Chad said that he was especially frustrated because he finds that without the ability to look at his notes and homework while the professor is lecturing, which is only available online, he doesn’t do as well.

Russ Rinker, LBCC Assistant Director of Information services, said that he was sorry to hear that the wireless was not living up to student expectations, but that the WiFi coverage is a work in progress, constantly being expanded and enhanced to provide better coverage and more access points. As many students have found, often to their disappointment, LBCC’s wireless is quite far from pervasive, but considering that it is provided as a free service, one has to ask if beggars are trying to be choosers?

One student felt that the wireless coverage was most sparse in the Madrone hall and the White Oak Hall, especially on the second floor, but was excellent in the Atrium. It was in the Madrone Hall, room 208, that the issue of WiFi coverage became a real issue for this because he was sitting right next to someone that had no issue at all with connecting to the web. It made him feel, “very frustrated and blown away that there wasn’t 100% pervasive coverage at LB.” He said that coming from Oregon University he was used to pervasive WiFi, even at his car, and that he was shocked when he came to LB last trimester and was unable to access his notes online despite being in class.

       Mr. Rinker said that  there were no major problems for student in terms of connection issues and that the WiFi network is comprised of very standard 802.11g wireless access points. Of course, every computer, tablet, and smartphone is different, and we only give general help to solve these kinds of problems. Students are encouraged to speak with the IT department, they are eager to hear from you about where dead zones are and aren’t.
Many students don’t know that the LBCC IT department wants to hear from the students, if you have any suggestions or know of any dead zones please make sure to contact the IT department either via the help desk or via their website.  Students may also not be aware, but LBCC provides WiFi services at no charge, Jason said that he would be willing to pay 15 or 20 dollars a trimester. If that meant that the IT department would have the funds to ensure pervasive WiFi for all of LBCC campuses you would be in favor of the extra fee? If so make sure to let the school know, or the IT department.

At a Glance:
Russell Rinker the Assistant Director, Information Services can be reached at (541) 917-4363
The LBCC Computer and Networking Systems Staff is a great place to start if you are looking to get 
into contact with the people who work to ensure LBCC has a first class IT support structure.
if you have any Suggestions please contact the
Linn Benton IT department website