Internet issues have plagued on-campus housing for years, and students’ complaints are finally being heard.
“We are currently making plans to have the student Wi-Fi network available throughout campus,” Chief Information Officer Ron Wright said. “Hopefully, it’ll be ready by fall 2017.”
Currently, students in University Columns bring their own router or plug ethernet cords directly into their computers, and students in University Place connect to a wireless network in their building.
Housing internet services are managed by CP-Tel Network Services, which is based in Natchitoches. When students have issues with their internet connection, they are encouraged to call CP-Tel. Since the internet issues are an issue in on-campus housing, some students complain to their Resident Assistants (RAs).
“We did contact CP-Tel, and they said that since no residents made a complaint, they couldn’t do anything,” RA Mia Adams said. “In response to that, almost every RA called and made a complaint as the residents we are. Residents expect us to be able to fix it, but we literally can’t do anything. The only thing we can do is call CP-Tel and see if they can come fix it.”
Because internet outages do not discriminate between day and night, students regularly leave their homes at night to complete online assignments.
“I usually go to my sorority’s house or to the library,” sophomore Taylor Powell said. “When it is really late at night, I am kind of stuck because the library closes at midnight. I know there are other places that provide Wi-Fi, but I tend to do homework late at night and I would rather be in my dorm than having to travel around.”
“My son used to live in Columns, so I am frustrated with the internet issues as a parent and as the Chief Information Officer here,” Wright said. “Because the internet isn’t currently managed by our office, I can’t do much to help though. Trust me, there’s no one more frustrated over the current situation than me.”
The on-campus internet situation began its decline about three years ago. At that time, internet was provided by the Houston-based company, Eleisure. Students in both University Place (UP) and Columns had to provide their own routers. Because the internet service provider was so far away, students with internet problems could not always have issues resolved quickly.
“We stressed choosing a provider that is nearby and has a relationship with the university to Campus Living Villages,” Wright said.
The Information Technology Services Department at NSU will manage all internet services on campus soon. Internet access in Varnado Hall will be provided through the department, and this will serve as a model for what is to come for other on-campus housing.
In order to bring the student Wi-Fi network to dorms, the Information Technology Services Department will have to upgrade hardware and wiring. They will completely replace hardware in University Place and replace both the hardware and wiring in Columns.
“The problem doesn’t reside with CP-Tel,” Wright said. “The problem is with the age of the equipment. The equipment in Columns probably dates back to 1994.”
In the meantime, students are encouraged to call the housing front desk and CP-Tel about internet and connectivity issues.