The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Internet Problems Frustrate Students

3 min read


Students on campus are struggling with wireless Internet connections, to the point that it delays their ability to do homework.

Freshman Sarah Vogt often cannot get assignments that teachers have posted online due to her Internet problems.

“The wireless connection in my room is rarely good,” Vogt said, who lives in a corner room in Alvey Hall. “I usually have to go somewhere else to get a good connection.”

Most issues with the wireless network are because of the distance between a user and access point, according to UMW’s Apogee Support Technician Joe McMahon.

Junior John Roesser and junior Karen Ellrod also live far from the center of their buildings and have experienced internet problems similar to Vogt.

Ellrod, who lives at the end of a hall in Randolph Hall, said that it often takes so long to load pages that the connection times out.

“Sometimes I inexplicably drop off the network and have to reconnect, even though the network tells me I still have five bars,” she said.

All three students reported that their connection improves when they go to a more central point in the building, where Internet access points are located.

Wireless internet connection problems, which many students deal with daily, can be fixed by reporting the problem, according to McMahon.

“Anybody having trouble connecting to the wireless network should contact Apogee’s 24-hour support number,” Apogee spokesman Nat Nealeigh said. He added that they can then determine the problem and work on fixing it by installing an additional router.

However, Rousser said that even after Apogee put a router in his room his connection barely improved.

“If his problem persists, it could be due to any number of issues from individual computer configuration to changing environmental factors,” Nealeigh said.  “For example, interferences from devices in adjoining rooms.”

Nealeigh said that wireless connection is not a widespread problem and the most affected students are in end rooms, like Vogt, Rousser and Ellrod. He also said that the problems were not there last semester.

“While a similar number of students may arrive on campus from one semester to the next, changes in computer types, configuration, operating systems, drivers, hardware, external devices, etc. create a changing environment,” Nealeigh said.

Different materials can obstruct wireless signal, according to McMahon, and without student feedback Apogee won’t be aware of the problem areas.

“It’s important for residents to call in to let us know they are having a problem,” he said.  “We prefer not entering a room to increase wireless coverage unless an open work order exists for the resident, with a scheduled appointment time.”

Nealeigh suggests students take advantage of wired connections until their wireless connection is improved, although Ellrod said that her connection does not always improve when she is plugged in.

Apogee’s 24-hour service and support line is 1-877-478-8808.

“Since responding to student feedback directed to our call center, we’ve seen a significant decrease in the number of students experiencing problems,” Nealeigh said.