GV addresses wireless Internet problems
The Information Technology department at Grand Valley State University has recently made changes to the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses on campus in order to make connecting to the Internet more reliable and efficient for students.
Kyle Nielsen, a network system engineer at GVSU, said the IT department had to allocate the IP addresses among different areas in order to make the network more manageable.
An IP address is like a phone number in that each computer has its own unique number to connect to the network, he said.
The department expanded the number of IP addresses to 8,000 devices available at a time, said Bill Fisher, associate director for technical services at IT.
“When we had accommodated an abundant number of devices, like tablets or iPads, we ran out of IP addresses, so we had to create even more,” he said.
When allocating the IP addresses, IT had to break up the amount of them available in certain buildings, like Mackinac Hall. Some buildings previously had too many addresses, which caused connection issues.
Fisher said there are usually more wireless problems at the beginning of the semester and that it can take a while for everything to go smoothly.
With the new IP address enhancements, students must now only log onto their user name and password once on their phones before their connection information is saved for automatic reuse.
“We see a lot more connections as compared to a year and a half ago,” Fisher said. “Logging on only once is beneficial for students with the influx of devices that they are bringing in.”
The new process “makes logging on less painless,” Nielsen added.
Earlier last week, IT experienced a failure with its wireless land controller, which affects students’ ability to log on to the wireless network. The department had to order a new device and used a standby device during the switch, but students may have experienced difficulty in logging onto wireless throughout that time. The land controller has been replaced, and these issues should decrease.
Samara Woolfolk, a junior at GVSU, said she has experienced quite a few issues with connecting to the Internet so far this semester.
“I’ve always had occasional problems with connecting to wireless, but this year it seems to be more consistent,” Woolfolk said, adding that most of her connection issues occur at night. “Currently I can only connect to ‘GV Guest’ rather than ‘Student.’”
Nielsen said he is currently working with CISCO, the manufacturer of GVSU’s computers, to resolve the issues with logging on to the network in the evening.
If students experience problems with their Internet, notifying IT of the issues will help the department solve them more efficiently, Fisher said.
“We see 8,000 users connected, but we can’t see individual problems that a student may be experiencing,” he added. “There are 950 wireless access points, so it’s hard to know if there’s a problem with individual students; reporting problems will help us a lot in noticing a pattern to respond to it.”
Students can report problems by sending an email to email@example.com or calling the IT Help Desk in Manitou Hall at 616-331-2101 or toll-free at 855-435-7488 (855-HELPGVU).
In addition, Fisher said the Blackboard site has a section on wireless information that explains how to report or handle problems. This information is also available on the Computer Technology Support page, where commonly found issues are discussed as well.