Why does the network suck so much? That is the question of the day. To start, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Christopher Myers and I am a senior commuter at GU. I can say that I feel like I am an expert regarding bad networks. I have almost always had to deal with crappy connections, wherever I have lived and have had to troubleshoot issues that only arise from having a poor network connection.
Now, while I might not live on campus, I still feel the effects of the poor network on campus. Being in class and watching the professor struggle to do the lecture or lesson because the connection is terrible or attempting to do homework, only to find that the network is down or it just refuses to work for you. You are not alone in these frustrating issues. I’ve had an audio major, Zane Simmons, come forward and tell me that the network doesn’t work well with his audio software called Dante, which is an audio over ethernet/digital patching software. Another example is the Esports team. A member, Yutong Nan, who goes by Blair, has had some recent issues trying to play League of Legends on the campus network. These are just a few of the issues that arise from the crappy campus network.
Now, we’ve all received the email, “There is a network outage. We are working to fix the issue as soon as possible.”. This is the worst email to receive sometimes, when trying to do homework, using some online software, or trying to play some games and relax, or in the Esports teams case, practice. Some are openly showing resentment about the network and it shows that there is a real issue and most are wondering why this is and why there seems to be no end to it.
At the moment, there is an outage every other week, sometimes multiple times a week. Some have their own theories about this. Aliens, the government, the professors hoarding the actually good connections and leaving us students with the scraps, but unfortunately, it’s much more simple than these theories. There are two main reasons that the network sucks. Traffic and location.
When I say traffic, I mean the amount of people on the network at any given time. There are 872 students enrolled in the undergrad program that live on campus. This means there is the possibility of 872 students on the network at the same time, not counting the faculty and staff. For reference, my home network can’t handle more than one device at the same time. If there is, the network gives up and shuts down for about five minutes. The network stretches across campus, which is possible because the network is set up the same way as airports, parks, Starbucks, etc. The way the network works is that the bandwidth is shared evenly between everyone who is currently using it, bandwidth being the connection strength. I would like to add that we should appreciate our IT team because they try their hardest to keep the network up and resolve issues as quickly as possible, despite it seeming like the network is never working when it needs to be. While it sucks and is hard to accept, the campus has the best network available in all of Bond county that can handle the traffic of a university campus.
What I said in the last sentence plays into the second reason, location. Bond county is located in extremely rural central Illinois. The closest, actually big towns are Collinsville/Edwardsville, which are 45 minutes away from Greenville. I have personally looked into the issue myself, trying to get a better internet connection. Other than the current network being used, the only other “equal” networks are satellite networks, which would never work for the campus. I have had an internet technician tell me that the reason that Bond county refuses to get anymore new network companies is because of GU. GU is big business and the county has a stake in the network being used on campus, which prevents others from coming into Bond county to provide a superior connection to the residents, not even mentioning GU.
To try to calm some of the storm, Mayor Barber and the city council are trying to get better internet for Greenville and Bond county. If you have any questions regarding what their steps are, I would ask you to direct your questions to the city council office. We can only hope that they are successful in getting us a better network, because I think we can all agree that we are in desperate need of an upgrade to the campus network.