Worn-out wireless network change at UMD

Illustration by: Will Madison

Illustration by: Will Madison

After almost two years of planning, the University of Minnesota recently implemented a new wireless internet system across all campuses. According to Jason Davis, director of ITSS, the new network, called “eduroam,” replaced a nearly ten-year-old system.

Davis explained that eduroam is an international network that allows connection without re-authentication, a feature especially helpful for students who frequently travel.

“When you authenticate to eduroam you’re not only on the UMD network, you’re on all the campus networks,” Davis said. “You can go to any university in the world or other space in the world that’s on eduroam, and there’s many of them, and you'll be on their wireless without having to re-authenticate.”

Students may notice an improvement in wireless coverage within residence halls. General changes to the system include improved security and better overall system coordination.

The implementation of the new system was not entirely flawless, however. On Aug. 29, an email was sent to UMD students regarding resolved wireless issues.  Dropped connections and confusion over which network to join were common complaints of UMD students. Two days later, another email was sent stating that further issues were resolved.

Ashley Bennett, first year, says that the wireless internet has not been much of an issue.

“I live in town so I’ve been using the school Wi-Fi since before they switched to eduroam,” Bennett said. “So far it seems fine. The Wi-Fi was a lot better over the summer, but that’s because there were a lot less people here.”

In regards to the connectivity problems, Davis explained that UMD’s earlier start date was a factor in wireless issues. UMD’s school year started earlier than some other U of M campuses, and also has the largest student body of the campuses that started early. Because of this, problems were encountered that have since been resolved for UMD and other campuses.

"I think that internet connectivity has become such a core to what everyone does, whether it's teaching and learning or for their personal use and everything in between,” Davis said. “The network has to be like electricity: it always works, it always works well, it works as you expect it to."

 

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