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Students raise concern over on-campus WiFi woes

By Ashar Memon, March 23 2018 —

Have you had trouble connecting to the internet on campus recently? You’re not alone.

Over the past two weeks, students, staff and faculty members have reported experiencing issues with WiFi across campus with the University of Calgary’s three main WiFi networks, airuc-secure, airuc-guest and eduroam. It appears the issues have since been resolved.

Students told the Gauntlet that they began noticing problems with WiFi connection on March 9. Many said these issues continued for the next couple of weeks, ending for most on Tuesday, March 20.

The U of C said in a statement that there is no evidence that the WiFi outages were caused by malware, instead citing “technical issues.”

“The university has been experiencing intermittent wireless issues across campus,” the statement read. “The Information Technology team has been working closely with our vendors to resolve the situation. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide updates as available. There is no evidence of any type of malware — this is a technical issue only.”

Some students have raised concerns that poor WiFi connection impacted their coursework and other activities on campus.

“I thought something was wrong with my computer, because it’s a university — how can the WiFi be bad?” engineering student Nameerah Wajahat said. “I just found it really surprising that it lasted for a week.”

Environmental science student Michelle Tran said she couldn’t download PowerPoints during class and was concerned about the time it look for the problem to be addressed.

“It’s sort of sad they couldn’t figure it out within a week, because that’s a relatively large timeframe and a lot of people are depending on the WiFi to learn,” Tran said. “I hope it’s back for good now.”

Spencer Fietz, a cellular, molecular and microbial biology student, said the issues were particularly troublesome for him because they started the day before one of his midterms.

“Not only did it make me use my data, which was running up the cost of my phone bill, but I also just wasn’t able to study or work on campus, even though I needed to be here,” Fietz said. “It’s just bad all around.”

The IT department tweeted that WiFi issues were resolved on March 14, but a tweet later that day said that issues had arisen once again.

IT staff said that a server outage arose on March 14 from issues with the new firewall, without explaining the outages starting on March 9. It was not immediately clear if outages before March 14 were connected to those after.

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