Cabrini University begins major WiFi upgrade on campus

Have you ever been disconnected from the WiFi at Cabrini University?

This is a daily occurrence for many students.

The entire upgrade for the WiFi will be complete before the Fall 2019 semester begins. Photo by Sydney Lynch

Students at Cabrini University have been experiencing trouble with the WiFi on campus for the past school year. Getting disconnected makes it nearly impossible to complete assignments.

Madelynn Murphy, freshman early education and special education major, has experienced this problem first hand. In an average day, Murphy will get disconnected from the WiFi at least once.

“[When] I’m in my room especially, the WiFi is so spotty. It depends on the day whether it decides to work. It usually happens when I really need to get something done and then I can’t because there is no WiFi,” Murphy said.

The information technology resource center has been adamant in their plan to upgrade the WiFi system on campus.

Rob Getz is the director of administrative computing at Cabrini University. He works in the ITR department and is working with a design vendor to find the optimal places on campus for access points. 

“We are essentially replacing all of the access points that are on campus, except for a small subset which were replaced about two years ago which are up to par to the [results] we want,” Getz said. “We worked with a design vendor to look at our buildings and design where they should be.”

An access point is where the WiFi comes from so all of those go back to a central networking closet where they get WiFi from. Each one broadcast out the wireless signal for them to connect too.

Cabrini University offers multiple WiFi networks to accommodate all devices of campus. Eduroam is Cabrini’s preferred wireless network, “offering the greatest bandwidth and security, fewer restrictions and the least radio interference. It is available to all students, faculty and staff with a current university user ID.”

CabriniDevices is an open network that can be used to connect entertainment devices to WiFi. Entertainment devices include smart TVs, game consoles and media players. CabriniGuest is an open network for all guest, where visitors can log in using their email to gain access to the network.

Murphy lives in East Resident Hall and has experienced trouble connecting to any network available.

“I primarily use Eduroam on my phone and my laptop but if that doesn’t work I’ll use CabriniDevices or CabriniGuest. I’ve found that sometimes the best way to go is creating a guest account until I can figure it out,” Murphy said.

Currently, access points in forms are located in the hallways of each building. A new design for each building is currently being developed.

“The first phase is to replace some of the old infrastructure that we need to get out of the way so we can put some new access points in, so those are scattered all over campus. That’s what we’ll be doing first. After that, we’ll focus building by building,” Getz said. “We’ll probably wait to do the dorm until the summer, so it’s easier for us to get in the when students aren’t living there.”

West Resident Hall was the first building to be upgraded before the Spring 2019 semester began. Over the summer, the entire campus will be upgraded to a new system. This is the first major upgrade in the last 10 to 15 years.

“Part of the strategy is to increase the number of them so that as students have more devices,” Getz said. “I think it averages to most students and faculty have above five devices, that newer access points can accept more devices and navigate that traffic a little bit easier so that there is no roadblocks or slowness.”

Emma Turnbach is a junior psychology major with a minor in philosophy. She lives on the third floor of East Resident Hall and gets disconnected from the WiFi at least once a day. Turnbach has visited ITR multiple times to repair connection to her personal laptop.

“ITR is helpful, they have helped me reset my password and connect to Eduroam,” Turnbach said. “Unfortunately, halfway through the semester my laptop disconnected from Eduroam and ever since I have had trouble signing back on. While I am grateful for the help I was provided, I wish there was a better solution for the long-term issues”

The entire upgrade for the WiFi will be complete before the Fall 20119 semester begins.

“We’re excited to roll this out,” Getz said. “We had really good reception from students who live in West after they’ve had that upgrade so we would like to replicate that everywhere on campus.”