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Network Status - Spring 2023

Posted January 19, 2023, 10:07 AM

We are pleased to report that most of the network issues that our community faced in the Fall 2022 semester have been resolved. The campus network is now considered stable and delivering high-quality, high-speed service across campus. Below are some of the steps we took in Fall 2022 to remediate the network issues and improve performance:

  • Switched our primary service provider from AT&T to Webpass, which increased our bandwidth.
  • Upgraded a hardware module that enabled us to leverage the higher bandwidth offered by Webpass.
  • Installed a new router, replacing an aging router that had created a bottleneck in the distribution of service to campus.
  • Made several changes to the routing configuration, which simplified the routing and eliminated bottlenecks.
  • Resolved a DHCP issue in which IP addresses were not being correctly assigned to devices as they connected to the network

Additionally, we have contracted with Xterra Solutions on an ongoing basis for network monitoring, issue resolution, and additional network improvement projects. In addition to the above upgrades, there are several projects under consideration to improve the reliability and speed of our network, as well as to prepare for the campus expansion over the next few years. We are confident that with this partnership, we can be more proactive and responsive in our ability to provide reliable internet service to the campus.

Founders Hall Network

One issue in the Founders Hall network remains active, which we are working diligently to resolve. Students frequently experience intermittent, but significant performance issues when connected to this network.

At the end of the Fall 2022 semester, in partnership with XTerra, we conducted an in-depth diagnostic survey of every room and space throughout the building. This survey allowed us to identify the problems in detail and virtually prototype configuration changes and the resulting impact. Based on the analysis of this survey, we are planning to making the following changes over the first few weeks of the Spring 2023 semester:

  1. Separate the network into 2 separate SSIDs: “Founders Hall” (at 5GHz) and “Founders Hall Legacy” (at 2.4 GHz).
    • Students should always use the “Founders Hall” network, which will offer better connectivity and performance.
    • We recognize that some older devices, such as smart TVs, may require a 2.4 GHz connection, for which the “Founders Hall Legacy” network can be used.
    • This change will take place on or around Jan 9th, 2023.
  1. Reduce the number of active access points.
    • While the initial network design called for an abundance of access points throughout the building, our research has determined that too many access points is causing interference and a chaotic network environment to which many devices struggle to establish a stable connection. Based on our survey results and prototyping of solutions, we believe that reducing the number of available access points, and boosting the signal on the remaining access points, will result in a more stable connection for our students’ devices.
    • These changes will initially be made on just one floor, to confirm the desired effect is achieved. During the initial implementation, CCA staff and XTerra consultants will assess the signal in every room on that floor. We will likely leave these changes in effect on a single floor only for several days, to ensure reliable service. Once confirmed, we will make these changes to the rest of the building.

There are a number of other configuration changes that we will be making in conjunction with the above steps, but these are the most significant ones that residents may notice.

Please stay tuned. We will update this page if this plan changes, or once the above steps are completed and we are confident that the network issues in Founders Hall are resolved.