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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Eduroam isn’t serving needs of campus community

Students need fast and reliable Wi-Fi everywhere on campus

By EDEN WINNIFORD — opinion@theaggie.org

UC Davis students and staff need access to reliable Wi-Fi throughout campus in order to work efficiently and effectively, but eduroam has been slow and unreliable so far this year. Students may be able to take notes offline, but many other necessary functions, including accessing Canvas, completing iClicker prompts for attendance credit and verifying your identity with Duo are impossible without quality Wi-Fi. Eduroam’s spottiness isn’t just frustrating — it can be detrimental to our grades. 

Despite the importance of Wi-Fi on campus, I’ve heard nothing but complaints about eduroam. There have been multiple instances where I’ve needed to wait five minutes for my laptop to connect to eduroam in lecture halls, and some of my friends haven’t even been able to access Wi-Fi in the library. Others report eduroam dropping their connection sporadically and have even made accounts for the UCD-Guest Wi-Fi in order to bypass eduroam. 

Almost all of the people I’ve spoken with don’t remember eduroam being this unsatisfactory before the pandemic — it had its problems, but you could connect to it quickly and it would eventually load whatever you searched for. Now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

At the very minimum, high-speed Wi-Fi should be available in every on-campus building, especially high-traffic areas like the library and MU. Students should be able to connect to it quickly, and it should be able to load pages without dropping connections randomly and without warning. 

Of course, eduroam’s problems may be outside of UC Davis’ control. As of April, the chip shortage had caused a 60-week delay in the shipping of internet routers, so I understand if this has caused a router shortage on campus or has forced UC Davis to use slower, outdated routers. The statewide worker shortage may also have an impact if any UC Davis tech support is understaffed, since providing Wi-Fi coverage to such a large area requires workers who are knowledgeable about picking proper equipment, managing the Wi-Fi network and optimizing coverage in different environments. 

More transparency from the university about the reasons behind the laggy Wi-Fi would help me feel less frustrated when I’m stuck waiting for pages to load endlessly. I wouldn’t mind the sluggish connection and failures to launch if I knew this was a problem the university was actively addressing and planning to fix as soon as possible. 

Written by: Eden Winniford — opinion@theaggie.org

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

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