UMD (in)secure: students react to Wi-Fi outage

Last week, the University of Maryland community experienced continual difficulties with campus-wide wireless service.

The groans of frustrated students echoed across College Park. Issues with the Wi-Fi network started late in the evening of Friday, September 9th, and did not appear to be fully resolved until Tuesday the 13th. Students all across campus were having trouble connecting their wireless devices, including cellphones, tablets and laptops, to the “umd secure” network.

Some students, such as Sylviann Horden, a freshman in the nursing program, found ways to get around the inconvenience.

“I made my friend connect my ethernet cable for me, so it didn’t affect me that much,” Horden said. “I think now [I’m prepared] if it ever happens again.”

Others, however, faced more pressing problems. Freshman engineering major Angela Zhou was scheduled to submit an online quiz for her Chemistry 135 class over the weekend, but the outage made it impossible.

“My professor extended the time limit on the quiz because of the Wi-Fi issue,” Zhou said. “It was definitely necessary and helpful.”

On Wednesday afternoon, when the network appeared to be stable, Eric Denna, the Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Division of Information Technology, sent an email to the entire UMD community. In the message, Denna explained that due to this year’s incoming freshman class being the biggest ever, more than 10,000 new personal devices have put strain on the network.

He also outlined the division’s plan to address these issues over the next 30 days, which includes “[adding] two new wireless controllers to handle increases in wireless traffic that we have experienced over the last few weeks.”

For senior physiology and neurobiology major Dahlia Kronfli, this email provided little comfort. Kronfli said she thinks the university has over-admitted students in order to earn more in tuition and other fees, and in doing so, has overlooked what is best for the student body as a whole.

“I think the university has been way too focused on making money and over-development of campus, like, too much, too soon,” Kronfli said. “UMD is too much about creating new sources of income lately.”

Despite the varying range of opinions and reactions concerning the Wi-Fi outage, one thing is clear: the student body is crossing their fingers for more successful connectivity in the future.

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