Campus housing goes wireless, but without personal routers


A married BYU student living in Wymount Terrace was trying to talk to his family in Armenia online, but his laptop didn’t catch the wireless connection. After having no success, he called the Office of IT, and discovered he could no longer use his personal router. From now on, he would have to use BYU’s wireless network. He was frustrated.

“I don’t like it,” said Igor Danilyan, a BYU student studying information technology. “My question is, ‘Why didn’t they send me a second message before?’”

[media-credit name=”Sarah Strobel” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
BYU Housing has made all of its internet wireless and independent routers will no longer work.
Danilyan had received a message from BYU housing last semester about the new wireless network, but it had said nothing about disabling personal routers. Even more frustrating was that he was not informed of the change until the day he called the office.

The residents living in the north Wymount Terrace received a message about the new wireless policy on Jan 13. However, because most residents use wireless with their laptops and the effective date listed as “Jan. 11-12”, those sensitive days during the add/drop class period made the situation more stressful.

The Office of IT is investigating with BYU housing why the students were not informed early enough, said Todd Berrett, infrastructure strategy director at the Office of IT. He said the change was necessary because it was the best way for the students living in on-campus housing.

“The [on-campus] housing network is paid by the students who live in the housing,” Berrett said. “Last April, it was determined that we can’t do both wired and wireless networks in housing. That would cause housing to charge more to the students. The most cost-effective way for us to do it was to go to wireless.”

Berrett said the signals from different personal routers in the same building will overlap a certain degree and often cause problems such as slower Internet speed. This has led to many similar service requests from the Office of IT, increasing the overall cost, Berrett said. The new wireless network system will provide higher Internet speed than a router, and even better online security if using BYU Wireless Secure.

Some students, however, may not think the same about the speed. Tanner Clawson, a freshman living in the new Heritage Halls, which uses the new wireless network, said he feels the new wireless is slower compared to using his personal router in Helaman Halls last semester, especially on weekends.

“I guess it’s nice that I can just connect to BYU [wireless] secure anywhere in the building,” Clawson said. “But personally I’d rather use my own router because I don’t have to deal with everybody bogging you down when the whole building is using it.”

Berrett said that is not likely to happen. The Office of IT researched and identified the general wireless speed in each housing. A personal wireless router itself may provide a faster speed, but it is connected to a Ethernet jack on the wall, which has limited speed. When students connect multiple devices such as laptops, iPod and gaming consoles to their personal routers, it splits the router’s bandwidth capacity and causes slower speed.

“Our wireless is so easy to use that people don’t even want to bring their own [routers],” Berrett said. “I’d love people to give us feedback if they are having problems in Xbox, or wireless printers. I’d love to have them to call any of us. We want to make it as good as we can.”

Currently the north Wymount Terrace, Wyveiw Park and the new Heritage Halls are using the new wireless network and the south Wymount Terrace and Helaman Halls will use it later this year. The ethernet cord outlets will be converted for BYU IPTV in the future.

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