By ELIZABETH PATTERSON
Since the dawn of the technological age, it seems that the University of Mary Washington has been battling a connection plague, its name being Apogee. Every year, hundreds of surfers (of the web, that is) fall victim to its buffers and dropped networks.
Sydney Poole, a sophomore at UMW, recalls her own battles with the Wi-Fi. “Well the Internet since spring break is very unreliable. On my laptop it’s not so bad, but on my phone, it is.” Poole finds refuge from the spotty coverage in her unlimited data plan, which she is forced to use when the Wi-Fi cuts out. “The reliability is so bad that now I usually just stay on my data because when I’m on the Wi-Fi, I won’t receive notifications such as Facebook messages and texts because my phone is not connected to the Wi-Fi.”
Christian Meoli, also a sophomore at UMW, faces similar struggles with the Wi-Fi connection on his phone. “They said they were fixing the Wi-Fi over spring break, but it somehow got [worse] in Eagle,” Meoli said. “My phone doesn’t connect half the time in my room and when it says it’s connected it doesn’t load stuff. I have to turn on my data a lot of the time.”
Hall Cheshire, the university’s Chief Information Officer, confirms that they are handling the situation. Cheshire explained that Apogee, also referred to as “Crap-ogee” by some students, manages and maintains Wi-Fi in the residence halls. However, the UMW IT Department manages and maintains Wi-Fi in academic and administrative buildings. When asked if he has caught wind of the frustrations with the Wi-Fi, Cheshire replied, “The only widespread Wi-Fi problem I am aware of over the past year occurred recently with the Apogee network.”
Cheshire explained that “Apogee is working on a project to replace and upgrade all of the network equipment in the residence halls. The first phase of the project was to replace all of their network switches, and this was completed in early March.” This is where some of the more recent problems with the Wi-Fi have occurred, but Cheshire ensured that Apogee has “identified and fixed the problem.” He continued to explain that the second phase of the project requires replacing all Wi-Fi access points in residence halls, as well as adding WiFi access points in areas with a weak signal. Phase two will be completed sometime in May. Cheshire concluded by promising “the upgrade of Apogee’s equipment will provide more reliable service for the wired network, and a stronger signal and faster speeds for the Wi-Fi network.”
However, if anyone does continue to face problems with the Wi-Fi they should report it by calling the UMW Help Desk at 654.2255, pressing 1 to report a problem to Apogee or pressing 2 to report a problem to UMW IT. The more information we have about issues with Wi-Fi on campus, the better able we are to isolate and fix problems, as well as plan for upgrades and improvements.