On Sunday, Feb. 28, the Residential Wi-Fi network went offline for fourteen hours, leaving students without any connection to do their online work.
According to Ashley Burt, Director of Information Technology Services, the internet service provider, Apogee, had a failed fiber optic connection in Atlanta, Georgia which connects directly to Eckerd.
In the past 4 months, ITS has been working on a new system for the academic side of the campus.
“We have been working to reduce the number of wireless networks on campus. You shouldn’t have to configure your device to connect to 55 different networks at Eckerd depending on what building you are in,” Burt said.
With this switch in Wi-Fi, there have been scattered reports of issues and outages on campus.
“The outage this week has highlighted the importance of this work. We will propose a solution to our leadership for review as soon as a design is finalized,” Burt said.
The ResNet Wi-Fi provider has been inconsistent over the past semester, causing disruptions for students on campus as they complete homework and other online assignments.
When Skyler Gionfriddo, first year animal studies major, started working on Sunday, Feb. 28 the Wi-Fi was working fine in the morning. Later in the afternoon, the Wi-Fi went out and the internet was inaccessible in the dorms.
“This just made me procrastinate even more because I couldn't even get on my computer,” Gionfriddo said.
With the Wi-Fi going out in the dorms, it created a disruption in her work and routine.
“For me personally, I like the comfort of my dorm. I don't like going to the library because I get super distracted super easily,” Gionfriddo said.
Emma Iannuzzi, a first-year musical theater major, was not on campus when the Wi-Fi originally went out on Feb. 28.
“I wasn't gonna want to come back to campus if the Wi-Fi wasn't working because that's not good, to not be able to do homework,” Iannuzzi said.
During last semester, Iannazzi went to her mother’s house when the Wi-Fi went out to do online classes.
“I stayed there to do Zoom because I couldn't do Zoom classes without Wi-Fi,” said Iannuzzi.
She said that when the Wi-Fi goes out, she never knows when it is going to be back on.
“I have to ask my RA because they don’t let us know and how am I supposed to know if they know about it or when they will fix it or when it will be back,” Iannuzzi said.
Grace Hoppie, first year marine science and fine arts double major, was studying for an exam when the Wi-Fi went out.
“I was unable to access pretty much all of my study materials, which greatly impacted my ability to study and retain the information and get a good grade on my exam,” Hoppie said.
Even without the online tools to study, her professor did not make accommodations around the test.
“The day for the exam to be taken was not changed, or adapted in any way to address the day long power outage for the Wi-Fi. We just took the exam like nothing happened,” Hoppie said.
Without the tools to study and the time it took out of doing work to find a good connection on campus, Hoppie said she didn’t learn much for her test.
“I expect the services my money goes towards to be worth as much as I am paying. Terrible Wi-Fi, that prevents me from doing school work, is not one of them,” Hoppie said.
When the Wi-Fi went out, economics and environmental studies senior, Katie McSweeney could no longer do work online, so switched to the physical readings for her classes.
“Then once I was done it was like nine o'clock, and we still had no internet,” McSweeney said.
In past years, McSweeney said it was easier to deal with the Wi-Fi going out because there was more physical materials.
“I think that we need a better system because it's not fair when the residential side cuts out and then we're either stuck and we're lost on what to do when all of us travel to the academic side or people have to go off campus to actually get good Wi-Fi. So I think that something needs to change because it's not fair to us,” McSweeney said.