Wifi still under construction, completion to be in fall 2018

in Campus Life by

Since the winter term of 2017, Umpqua Community College has been working hard on upgrading and improving the slow internet speeds and connectivity issues on campus.

Some students are already seeing improvements in the network, while others are not.

Jakob Bergman, an engineer major, said the network has been “a little better.”

Tanner McCue, another engineer major, thought the network’s speed has had little to no difference, saying it has been “marginally different, but still overall bad.”

Those who have not seen a change with the internet may need to give it some time. UCC is still working on adding a couple of more improvements to the network.

Kathy Thomason, UCC’s network administrator, confirmed that UCC has added two new firewalls that allow the full gigabyte of internet speed (last year UCC only received 450 megabytes). Thomason added that UCC has “business class internet” which gives UCC the full one gigabyte pipeline. Home networks typically have a shared pipeline of optical fibers in a neighborhood.

UCC has also attempted to fix networking issues by introducing Cisco brand “mgig” switches which allow more internet traffic to go through the network, and the college is also in the process of adding more AC type access points. The purpose of these access points is to give students with laptops a better, faster connection.

Last winter, the “UCC_Guest” wireless network was purposely throttled to prevent bandwidth hogging. It still is, but Thomason confirmed she did “up the throughput with 100mb down(download speed) and 40mb up(upload speed).”

Jeremiah Bean, a mechanical engineer major, was impressed with the new Wi-Fi improvements. “It’s been a lot better for schoolwork,” Bean said.

Wayne Jaworski, an associate engineer major, was surprised by the speeds as well. “Last year, it kept failing in the library. Now it is much stronger and more useful,” he said.

If students do not see a change in their networking speeds, “I am willing to consider upping it,” Thomason said.

UCC is not completely finished with their networking revamp but Zeb Packard, network assistant at UCC said “We have a goal of being completely wrapped up in September 2018.”

This later date of completion could be due to a vulnerability in the system. The WPA2 encryption protocol was cracked yesterday, but after pardoning the system, there are no longer any vulnerabilities.

This will not be complete until the new building construction is complete and the existing AP’s are installed in it.

Throughout the past two years of the networking improvements, the “IT portion” as Yoder calls it, has cost a total of $710,703.60 and was funded by the federal Title III grant as well as an Oregon Legislative grant.