Wireless technology overloads capacity

Spectrum begets limitations within reach around campus

By Asma Alkrizy, Staff Writer

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Although the Ruckus Wireless Network provides Internet access for students and staff members, many  at Contra Costa College advocate for updating the Wi-Fi system.

“It’s frustrating sometimes when I have to log in over and over again,” psychology major Jeilo Gauna said. “You have to get access multiple times instead of automatically logging in.”

Many students believe that CCC’s Wi-Fi system as frustrating and troublesome when it slows down, drops connections and requires students frequently to log in at certain locations around the campus. 

“They should update the (wireless network) system to make it faster,” business and administration major Emilio Perez said, claiming that it took him time to understand the mechanics of the wireless network in residence. “It should come without a login.”

The last time the campus Wi-Fi network was updated was in 2013, along with sister colleges Diablo Valley and Los Medanos colleges.

The Contra Costa Community College District updated the Wi-Fi network to give registered students and classified staff members a faster and secure system, and to allow them to have easy access to the Internet.

However, despite the updates to the system, it seems that CCC’s wireless network contains a limited wireless spectrum available for all students.

James Eyestone, CCC technology systems manager, said despite the frequent wireless network logins students are subjected to, the college’s Wi-Fi system has to operate this way.

Eyestone said the wireless network performance relies on the availability of the wireless spectrum. When the spectrum reaches its limits, he said, it could affect wireless communication.

He said students possess many of devices and there is a certain amount of spectrum available in the Wi-Fi system before (the network) is slowed down. “Sometimes students aren’t even using their devices when they’re connected to the Internet.

“This creates a busy spectrum with these students using certain amounts of the spectrum that could be used by other students who are really using their devices. This slows down the wireless network “

Allowing students to log in frequently, Eyestone said, allows more spectrums for other students.

“I actually like how the Wi-Fi access is functioned because not anyone can use it,” computer engineering major Ogheneyengbame Akpojiyoubui said. “I like the fact that you have to log in, but when connection times out when we move to a different location, it can become annoying.”

Ruckus Wireless network requires an InSite Portal ID and password for students to connect to the Internet.

In addition, the students and classified staff members are not the only ones gaining access to Wi-Fi, as the wireless network is also available for guests and faculty too.

Eyestone said the employee and student network works the same. “For guest network, the name and password are kept confidential,” he said. “People who aren’t enrolled at CCC or who come from other colleges can log in as guests.”

“I’m definitely going for making Contra Costa College’s Wi-Fi system faster,” Akpojiyoubui said. “But I believe for that to happen, the wireless network should be limited for guest users.”

Eyestone said the college’s wireless network disconnects after 60 minutes at certain locations on campus, and this requires students to log in again to connect to the Internet.

However, the wireless network login works differently for campus employees.

Eyestone said, “(Classified staff) have the option of registering the device for a year, so they don’t have to log in each time they use Wi-Fi.”