Campus News

Students express concerns about slow Internet service

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Most students believe the Internet is an essential part of college life.  They use it often for educational purposes and for just pure enjoyment. Studies by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project indicate that percent of college students access the Internet at least once a day. But many  Bethel students believe their  access to the World Wide Web has been hampered by what they consider slow service.

Junior business major Gerardo Carrera says he has been having trouble with homework and communication with his family. “I pick up wireless on my laptop to talk to my family and do research for my homework,” said. Carrera. “Sometimes I just can’t stand the slowness of it and give up.” Other students say they also have struggles. “I used to talk to my family back home every day,” said  senior Ryan Needs from Wales. “Now it is just impossible because the Skype connection goes down all the time.” Terry Bergman, Bethel’s network engineer, admits that the internet has been running slower lately and explains that one of the main reasons is the current internet system was not designed to support the increasing number of technological advances. “Our wireless system was installed five years ago and the number of devices that use wireless nowadays is far above the capacity of our current system,” said Bergman. According to Bergman, devices such IPods, IPhones, game consoles, and many others work with wireless and that decreases the speed of the internet because the system splits its capacity evenly.  He said It does not matter if the signal is being sent to a laptop that will pick up internet  or just to an Xbox controller that will just use wireless to connect to the console. “Every student has at least three devices that use wireless and this density kills our system that tries to cover all devices evenly,” said Bergman. Bergman says the solution to the problems may be coming soon. He said that the Bethel network department is planning to replace the current internet wireless system for a newer one that carries a new standard. “The new system is intelligent enough to identify which device needs higher wireless signal,” said Bergman. “It will make laptops get the best of our wireless system while other devices just pick up enough signal to be able to work.” This system upgrade would solve most of the problems students have been complaining about; however, even though  some students have expressed frustration, others like Nate Herrmann, a senior nursing major, do not think that the wireless problem is so alarming. “I have had these internet speed problem once or twice, but it normally does not prevent me to get my work done on the internet,” said Hermann. For these isolated-cases, Bethel’s network engineer explains that other factors can also cause slowness on the wireless system. “Not everything is under our control,” said Bergman.  “The internet provider can cause slowness as well as other external interferences such as Bluetooth or even an old microwave. Internet traffic shaping is a term used to describe an overload of traffic on a network pipe. In other words, when many people from all over the world try to access the same provider it causes latency translated to slowness on the internet.” Bergman said the school is working to solve the problems, but students will need to remain patient.
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