Canaan Hess | Veritas NewsJunior Brent Neely tests out the new Wi-Fi in the Mann Student Center.

Canaan Hess | Veritas News
Junior Brent Neely tests out the new Wi-Fi in the Mann Student Center.

Eastern Nazarene College’s Information Technology Services Department has implemented a beta test for new and improved Wi-Fi service in the Mann Student Center.

Senior Jacob LeVasseur, an ITS student worker, said, “Last fall … I put out a survey on behalf of the ITS Department and it came back saying there were quite a few problems with the wireless network.”

LeVasseur continued, “We’re hoping that if we show this beautiful new network in this building and everyone likes it … it will be easier for us to ask for funds.”

Although the projected date still hasn’t been set, LeVasseur affirmed that “regardless of whether or not we go with this setup or this company … whatever happens, we are dedicated to making an improvement to the Wi-Fi.”

Students expect to have Internet access readily available, so why were there problems? LeVasseur explained that “when the Wi-Fi was first installed, people did not have the same demand for Internet, but with the explosion of smartphones and other technology, the school Wi-Fi quickly became outdated.”

LeVasseur is working with the ITS Department for his senior thesis and hopes that changes can be implemented in order to improve the student experience.

“Last semester, we actually doubled the amount of Wi-Fi bandwidth coming to the campus,” he said, “and we increased the amount that we allot per user … from one and a half megabits to about five.”

Director of ITS Charles Burt confirmed LeVasseur’s information about the potential upgrade.

“If the Mann test goes well and funding is approved, the upgrade could take place in three phases,” said Burt. “Phase 1 would cover wireless controller equipment and access points in Mann and dormitories.  Phase 2 would cover remaining common areas and classrooms.  Phase 3 would add additional access points for classes specifically requiring the use of a tablet device.”

“It is our goal to add a significant number of access points to eliminate the dead spots on campus,” concluded Burt.

Action has already been taken to strengthen Internet access on campus, and students can expect more improvements in the near future. Soon, students will be able to travel across campus without losing their Wi-Fi signal and they will only have to log in once, thanks to Mac address registration.

LeVasseur wants to make sure students understand that the ITS Department intends to make all possible changes to help students. The new beta test is a start for improvement, but it is not a definitive solution; another approach may be chosen.

“I don’t want [readers] sitting there going, ‘That’s not what the article said we were getting,’” LeVasseur stated.

But he added that “the need [for improvement] has arisen and we want to fix it.”