Almost every LSU student is familiar with eduroam, but few have had a pleasant experience.
All University students have to use the campus wifi, eduroam, to get anything done, from research to mindless Reddit scrolling. On the University’s campus, there are 4,500 access points, but only about 20 spots are accessible outdoors. Eduroam covers the interior of campus buildings along with the Parade Grounds and the Quad. Anything outside is a bleed-over signal from neighboring buildings.
That may be why your internet connection suddenly disappears from time to time.
Information Technology Services relies mostly on trouble-ticketing services to know where people don’t have sufficient service. While they try to regularly update, the problem isn't so easily fixable, according to Information Technology Services Director of Networking Engineering Sean Robbins.
“The authentication piece of eduroam is ongoing. That doesn’t get any better,” Robbins said. “As far as the wireless signal is provided by the eduroam SSID on campus, we are constantly improving that.”
Some student complaints concern the connection to the wireless network.
“Sometimes I have to reenter the password every time I log on, and it gets annoying,” geology sophomore Hannah Paradis said. “Also, it will sometimes randomly go out and won’t come back for a few hours.”
At the end of the last fiscal year, Information and Technology Services replaced about 700 access points on campus. They have gone from about 3400 to 4500 access points in the past year, but increasing the spots hasn't seemed to improve connections.
“[The wifi] doesn’t connect all the time,” history junior Dennis Koch said. “It doesn’t connect in the quad in some areas.”
According to Manager of Wireless Networking Allen Toms, there is a need for upgraded wireless access points and newer devices because the quality of student technology keeps improving. Consequently, around one-third of the access points need to be changed every year.
Information Technology Services also work with Student Government and receives money from the student tech fee to support wireless. The University has had wireless since 2001, with eduroam implemented around a decade ago. Eduroam was created in Europe, but is now primarily based at the University of Tennessee.
Robbins believes that eduroam is one of the best internet services currently available on college campuses.
“Compared to our peers, I think we have played a leading role for developing a wireless environment for students to use. Anything that is intangible like wireless, it can be difficult to troubleshoot sometimes,” Robbins said. “It is a hard technology to grasp and satisfy everybody, but I think we are one of the top in the academic world as far as what we provide our students.”
However, most students don't seem to share his opinion.
Kinesiology freshman Taylor Brenner has just arrived on campus and has already experienced problems with the roaming network.
“Sometimes it just goes out,” Brenner said. “I could see how it could [affect me with school or personally].”