Lack of consistent Wi-Fi affects Tarleton students

By: Madison Reed

Executive Producer

In this day and age, Wi-Fi is no longer a privilege or a want; it is a necessity. People now bank online, work online, do school online, chat online and so much more. Without Wi-Fi, the world would no longer be able to operate properly.

Wi-Fi is important to college students, especially now with the global pandemic forcing some students to go completely online or use Zoom as an option to attend class. Students are required to do their school work online whether it be for homework, a quiz/exam, zooming in to professors’ office hours or to access Canvas. Without access to Wi-Fi, students would not be able to complete their school work.

For some students, the Wi-Fi at their university is the only resource available to them.  Some students even commute to their university simply for the Wi-Fi in order to complete homework and assignments because their Wi-Fi at home is unreliable or nonexistent.

Recently, the Wi-Fi at Tarleton State University has not been working correctly and has raised a lot of concern amongst the student body.

In an anonymous survey, a student said, “I understand Tarleton having problems for a few days, but for two weeks straight I couldn’t connect… Access to Wi-Fi isn’t a ‘privilege’ anymore, it’s a necessity, especially when students are expected to turn everything in on Canvas.” In the anonymous survey that was sent to multiple students across campus, over 84% of students said they use the Tarleton Wi-Fi on a daily basis, and 11% said they use the Wi-Fi three to four times a week.

When asked how the students would rate the Tarleton Wi-Fi on a scale from “excellent” to “doesn’t ever work,” only one student rated the Wi-Fi as “excellent.” 11% of students rated the Wi-Fi as “good,” 35% as “fair,” 45% as “poor” and 9% as “doesn’t ever work.”

In an online survey, students commented on the Tarleton Wi-Fi.
Screenshot By: Madison Reed

Some students listed certain buildings that were affected, however, most students said they had trouble with the Wi-Fi all around campus. Most students who reported living on campus complained especially about the Wi-Fi at the dorms.

“I know [Tarleton is] trying to fix the internet at Bosque, but it’s just been bad for so long and internet quality is a big part of our daily lives so it is a great inconvenience to me, my roommates and the other residents of my hall,” Tyler Beeson, an on-campus resident, said. “If [Tarleton] could keep the residents more up to date on [the] progress of the internet situation that would help because right now it feels [like Tarleton has] just abandoned us.”

One student even mentioned their Spanish professor had to print out their exam because no one in the class could connect to the Tarleton Wi-Fi.

If students are having so many issues with the Wi-Fi, why hasn’t Tarleton done anything about it?

The Director of Networks and Communications at Tarleton’s Information Technologies Services Chad Evans said, “On average, 9,500 unique client devices connect to Tarleton’s Wi-Fi daily. Tarleton’s Wi-Fi is designed for the anticipated occupancy of a location. Occupancy that exceeds expectation can impact performance.”

Evans further stated no one reported problems with the Wi-Fi with a Help Desk ticket in October and only one report was opened in November.

Located in the student library behind Starbucks, students can find the Tech Spot where they can report and/or receive help with all Wi-Fi related issues.
Photo By: Madison Reed

“Tarleton follows the manufacturer’s recommended and industry-standard best practices for wireless upgrades,” Evans added. “Wireless devices have a typical life cycle of four to five years.”

When asked if any buildings are being updated currently, Evans said only the Legacy Wi-Fi was and its completion date is expected to be in December.

“In addition to replacing aging equipment,” Evans said, “Wi-Fi coverage will be expanded in academic spaces.”

According to Evans, when academic buildings’ Wi-Fi is being updated, the building manager is notified of the changes. Additionally, if a class is going to be in session during the updates, that specific classroom is excluded from the updates until it is vacant. Tarleton cannot cover every square inch of campus with Wi-Fi service. Tarleton focuses the span of the service to heavily populated areas where students are more likely to need Wi-Fi.

“The focus for Wi-Fi density is academic spaces such as classrooms, with additional coverage for spaces such as the Thompson Student Center, the Dick Smith Library, the Tarleton Center and indoor common spaces such as conference rooms,” Evans stated. “Outdoor coverage is available on the Admin Mall and in the new food truck area, mall and pathway areas such as Rudder Way and around residence halls. All new construction offers dense wireless coverage.”

Though Tarleton offers Wi-Fi, is it up to par with what the students actually need in order to succeed in their classes?

Another student said, “As more and more professors are requiring students to have a laptop in class, high-speed wireless internet is now a necessity for participation in class not just for study and homework.”

If students have any issues with the Wi-Fi, they should contact the Computer Help Desk at 254-968-9885. In addition, they can also visit the Tech Spot in the Dick Smith Library on the Stephenville campus.

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