Campus Wi-Fi upgraded, damaged wires slow process

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April 6, 2015

Evan Musick
emusick@uccs.edu

Bumping out of the slow lane and shifting into hyperdrive, the campus Wi-Fi will receive a big boost.

On March 13, the IT help desk posted on their website that it would be completing the final steps in upgrading the UCCS internet bandwidth from 670 megabits per second to 4 gigabits per second, with the future potential to move up to 10 gigabits per second, thus providing faster internet speeds.

Students said an upgrade would be beneficial.

Heather Macdonald, sophomore psychology major with a premed track, uses the Wi-Fi for about an hour a day and says that sometimes, the connection isn’t the best

“It’s kinda slow. Sometimes. It depends on how many people are using it,” Macdonald said.

John Radabaugh, a senior majoring in film, uses the Wi-Fi on campus daily and evaluates the service on a one to 10 scale.

“I’d say, when everything is working, I’d say a seven, eight, that neighborhood. It’s actually pretty decent.”

Greg Williams, director of Networks and Infrastructure for IT, explained the reason behind the upgrade.

“More students watching Netflix,” Williams laughed.

He said the real reason behind the update was due to an increase in usage.

“This has been a steady line increase every year. We probably use 200 megabits per second more every year. So if you think about it, it is exponential,” Williams said.

Work on the wireless upgrade began a year ago and hasn’t had many difficulties. But since the fiber optic cables run down to UCCS from Denver, anytime the cable is damaged, the Colorado Department of Transportation is responsible for the repairs as UCCS shares a fiber pipe with CDOT, Williams said.

On March 23, IT posted on its web site that it had to switch to its back up internet link due do the fiber being damaged somewhere along I-25.

“There was a retaining wall that was built, and one of the horizontal spikes that go in to hold up that retaining wall, went into that fiber,” Williams said.

According to their website, IT switched back to their primary link on March 30. But the portions of the cable that provided the newest internet connection are still damaged, Williams said.

He hopes the fiber cables will be repaired sometime within the next several weeks.

Williams said that paying for the upgrade has come from general funds, not student fees.

One benefit of the upgrade is that all restrictions are being lifted. Williams explained that if two students were accessing the network, one for Netflix, one for student applications, priority would be given to the student accessing student applications.

With the new Wi-Fi, both students would have equal priority, according to Williams.

Williams explained some of the workings behind providing campus internet and the company UCCS gets its internet connection from.

“It’s called Front Range Giga Pop, and it’s a consortium of mostly higher-ed institutions in Colorado,” Williams said.

Williams mentioned that FRGP is similar to Comcast and Century Link, as they are their own entity. Like Comcast and Century Link, FRGP can go directly to Level 3 Communications, a large telecommunications company, and receive its internet through them via fiber optic cable.

“This is heavy duty stuff,” Williams said.

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