by SARAH KHALIL
Many students are encountering internet connectivity issues in the first few weeks of classes.
Husna Shinwari, a junior chemistry major, said she had trouble with connecting her device during her classes.
“On the first day of classes and it’s still happening, the school Wi-Fi doesn’t connect to my laptop,” she said. “Sometimes when it connects, it will disconnect by itself shortly.”
Shinwari lost her internet connection in class when trying to do an activity on her phone.
“In the beginning of class, we do online activities,” she said. “I lost my internet connection in the middle of the activity. I tried to restart my phone and try to reconnect it again, and when it finally connects, the activity is already done by then, and I’m left behind because I can’t keep up with my work on time.”
However, Edward Gray, a co-manager of IT support services with 21 years of experience at UMW, explained that he has not seen an increase in technology help requests this semester.
“There are no widespread issues that I can recall,” he said. “I checked through our ticketing system; I didn’t find any tickets related to that. But that’s not to say there weren’t any issues.”
In some parts of campus, there is no service signal either, which creates an even bigger problem when the Wi-Fi is not working.
“My phone loses its signal at Jepson when I’m on the first or second floor, and sometimes when the Wi-Fi is not working properly I don’t have any other option to stay connected to the internet,” said Shinwari. “What if there is an emergency and my family is trying to reach out to me, but they can’t because my phone doesn’t have any signal? It really worries me.”
Aishah Wahedi, a senior biology major, also experienced issues with Wi-Fi stability in Jepson and around campus.
“I did experience difficulties with trying to connect to the Wi-Fi in Jepson in the first two weeks of the semester, but it has been improving lately,” said Wahedi. “On the first day of classes, I was at Combs and I wanted to check my syllabus for the room number of my next class, and the Wi-Fi wasn’t working. I spent 20 minutes trying to get it to work, but it wasn’t connecting at all. So, I went to the University Center to try [to] access my syllabus and I had the same problem there too.”
Wahedi’s attempts to resolve this problem were not successful.
“I tried to restart my laptop and reconnect; I still had the same issue,” she said. “I even tried using my phone to connect to the Wi-Fi to access my courses and it didn’t work too.”
Wahedi believes the Wi-Fi is worse this semester than in the past.
“I don’t think the Wi-Fi problem was this bad in my past few semesters,” she said. “I did notice at the start of this semester, the Wi-Fi connection was terrible. The Wi-Fi will get disconnected all of the sudden or sometimes it will connect but it will be very slow,” said Wahedi.
The internet issues have had a great effect on students’ ability to stay connected during class time.
“This has impacted me by trying to access my courses, trying to get my assignments done and using the internet for research,” said Wahedi.
According to Gray, there are common issues that occur at the start of every semester, including network connectivity issues.
“From move-in through the first week of classes, there is always a surge in tickets such as password resets, network connectivity and courses not showing up on Canvas,” he said. “That’s typical for every semester, more so the beginning of every fall semester. During spring semester there is an uptake but not as severe as during the fall semester.”