IT staff restores wireless after connectivity issues

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 6:31pm

Update: Thursday, Sept. 10

5:05 p.m.

Full functionality has been restored to campus wireless networks as of Thursday afternoon, according to Information and Technology Services.

Open MWireless, the new network launched during the connectivity issues, will also remain active on campus for about the next week but will require a uniqname and password to connect to University services starting Friday morning. 

Update: Wednesday, Sept. 9

12:35 p.m. 

As University wireless networks continue to suffer from intermittent connectivity issues as a result of a bug in the Wi-Fi vendor’s code, Information and Technology Services has launched a new network across campus called Open MWireless.

Andy Palms, the executive director of communications systems and data centers, had previously said the Wi-Fi problems — which began at 10 a.m. Tuesday with the MWireless, MGuest and eduroam networks all struggling to connect — would be fixed by early Wednesday morning. 

However, by Wednesday afternoon, despite continuous work with the vendor to resolve the issue, Palms said in a follow-up message, a solution hadn’t been found.

Tuesday’s problems, Palms explained, arose from an error in the vendor’s code linked to heavy wireless use across campus. He said the connectivity issues were manifested mainly on Central Campus, with South and North Campus mostly unaffected.

Update: Tuesday, Sept. 8

10:15 p.m.

Just in time for the first day of class, University wireless networks decided not to make an appearance on Central Campus Tuesday.

Andy Palms, the executive director of communications systems and data centers, said the Wi-Fi problems — which began at 10 a.m. Tuesday with the MWireless, MGuest and eduroam networks all struggling to connect — should be resolved by early Wednesday morning. 

“It does not impact the Health System,” Palms said in an interview Tuesday about the intermittent service. “It does not impact the South Campus. It also does not impact most of North Campus. It’s pretty much a Central Campus issue.”

Tuesday’s problems, Palms explained, arose from a bug in the Wi-Fi vendor’s code as a result of heavy wireless use across campus.

“Today, by changing configuration and spreading the load out across more equipment, we decreased the impact of the bug,” Palms wrote.

Earlier, Palms had noted that the University upgraded roughly 3,000 of its wireless access points over the summer. Doing so, he said, was part of accommodating a yearly increase in network use. This year’s Wi-Fi use rose by 20 percent from last year, a change that Palms said is “well within our specs.”

During the day Tuesday, the University’s information technology phone line touted an automated message explaining that the connectivity issues were worst in areas including Angell Hall and North Quad. 

“Somebody may not even get access, but if they try again after a few minutes, they will,” Palms said, later adding that the intermittency could result in networks “dumping (connected students) off after a few minutes.”

LSA junior Elizabeth Brennen said the wireless was down for most of the two hours she spent in Mason Hall Tuesday afternoon. 

"I was trying to pull up the syllabus before class and review it, and I couldn’t, so it was a bummer to not have Internet," she said. "I would say internet is almost fundamental to my learning experience at this point."