R U Tired of Unreliable Wi-Fi?

by: Nicole Marinelli

Rutgers University students have complained that RUWireless is an unreliable source of Internet throughout all five of New Brunswick’s campuses.

Whether it is for schoolwork or leisure purposes, the Internet plays a big role in a college student’s everyday life.

The place students want Internet access the most is in their residence halls or on-campus apartments, and this is the place where connectivity is most limited.

While students laptops and smart phones may indicate that they have a strong connection to the Internet, it is slow and often disconnects in the middle of loading a page.

Rutgers senior Cherylin DeCarlo said that, when she lived in the Newell Apartments on Cook Campus last year she had no Wi-Fi in her building for over a week. DeCarlo said this forced her to go to the library after her classes to get work done. The problem was she was unsure of how to get to the library on the Cook/Douglass Campus.

She decided since many of her classes were on Livingston, she would stay after class to use the Kilmer Library in order to get her work done. This was inconvenient for DeCarlo because not only was the library her only source of Internet access for the week, but it was also far away from her apartment.

Like many other students who have to deal with the spotty Internet connection, DeCarlo becomes frustrated when her computer won’t connect to the Internet. However, “we go to a huge school so we have to expect bad connection sometimes,” she said raising her voice on the final word.

DeCarlo emphasized the word sometimes because an institution this large should also have the funds for more routers to ensure reliable Internet for all students.

Because she is paying a significant amount of money to come to a well-established school like Rutgers, a reliable Internet source should be included in the cost, DeCarlo said.

Over 30,000 undergraduates are enrolled at Rutgers, and part of their tuition includes a $150 computer fee. This fee gives them access to the Internet, networking, wireless services, email, MyRutgers and IT services.

While the Internet is a constant frustration for students and faculty, they faced more severe problems with RUWireless these past two semesters due to the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

When these attacks occur anything using the Rutgers Central Authentication Service does not work. Websites that use this service includes: RUWireless, Sakai, eCollege, and Rutgers Gmail accounts.

This results in students and faculty on campus being completely internet-less, but they aren’t the only ones affected. Student that live off campus and have a different source of Internet are still unable to access sites like Sakai because their Net ID and password are needed, which is what is disabled during these attacks.

Sara D’Antuono, a Rutgers junior, joked that she wanted to transfer because of how bad the wireless connection is.

D’Antuono said the DDoS attack has caused nothing but problems for her. However, there was a single perk to the attacks last semester for D’Antuono. She took dance appreciation online and “thanks to the hacker my final exam was cancelled.”

E. J. Miranda, the Director of University News and Media Relations, said the University has made “significant and substantial network hardware upgrades” to prevent further attacks.

According to Miranda, the university is now utilizing DDoS mitigation services as well making web serves improvements and using a different Internet Service Provider, one that will provide additional levels of DDoS threat deterrent capacity.

These changes made to better implement cyber security have increased student tuition by about 2.3 percent this year. Yet the most recent cyber attack on Sept. 28th has students questioning the tuition spike.

Elizabeth Navas, a junior in the School of Communication and Information, said she does not understand how a group of professional IT specialists have been outsmarted multiple times.

“I think it’s funny that the name of our Wi-Fi is named RUWireless_Secure because it’s anything but that,” Navas said.