No-Fi connection plagues campus

Students, staff and faculty at Citrus College have been experiencing difficulties with Wi-Fi all across the campus, and this connectivity problem is not getting any better.


Citrus College relies on websites like Wingspan and Blackboard to connect the institution with students. Reliable internet access is essential to make this happen.


During a recent all-campus evacuation fire drill, an email alert was sent to the faculty 14 minutes after the exercise began. Teachers were upset about the delayed email and some blamed the lack of Wi-Fi in classrooms.


While lack of reliable Wi-Fi is not only inconvenient, it could also be dangerous in the case of a real fire, any natural disaster or criminal threat that could occur on campus.


According to Leigh Buchwald, computer system supervisor and Linda Welz, chief information services officer, there are 84 access points throughout the campus and each point can support up to 50 devices at once.


Too often these points become unavailable or run slow in high use areas such as the library because too many people are sharing the same bandwidth at the same time.


“In order to install an additional 100 access points to fully cover the instructional spaces and provide increased bandwidth through updating older access points to include new higher speed wireless access”, Buchwald said, “the college needs funding from grants or the faculty to request it in their program reviews.”


Installing these access points is a costly job and Buchwald said, “The college has lots of plans, but no money.”


The Financial Resources department recently asked the Academic Senate, which includes the faculty and other constituent groups on campus, how the district should use the current resources more efficiently.


The top response was for campus wide Wi-Fi.


Academic Senate president Lisa Villa said, “It’s come up quite often simply because it is a practical recommendation for use of ‘current’ resources.”


Not having wireless connection throughout the Technology Center strikes some as ironic.  Connecting a laptop or smart-phone to Wi-Fi inside or near classrooms in the TC building is nearly impossible.


Citrus college needs to reprioritize. More reliable Wi-Fi should be at the top of the list because it affects all faculty, staff and students.