Weak signal in residence hall

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 11:40 AM

Allan Pinkerton has lived in Residence Hall One for five years. But he’s never had wireless internet problems like the ones he faces this year.

“After I connected with USF and USF Gold, I noticed that I had a problem,” said Allan Pinkerton, a resident of Residence Hall One. “The Wi-Fi signal was very weak coming to my room. I would only get one to three bars.”

The Wi-Fi is disrupted by personal wireless routers, creating weak internet signals. Private routers are illegal in the residence halls.

Jeff Reisberg, director of campus computing, said that the use of illegal devices is to blame for the bad connection some students are experiencing.

Using items such as routers, switches, hubs or wireless access points are a clear violation of the USF Network Agreement and Florida Statutes.

The wireless system uses two frequencies that the campus can link to.

The frequency runs three lines, which are known as Channels 1, 6 and 11.

If a wireless router broadcasts on one of those channels or channels in between those, they create interference, according to Reisberg.

“By putting that device in your room, you are creating interference in that area and it makes it difficult for us to try and adjust the signal around the interference,” Reisberg said.

The answer to this problem is not as simple as blocking the signals. Reisberg said that if campus computing did this, students would then be faced with no internet access. The housing staff is responsible for regulating this issue.

“We are trying to educate residents not to use outside networks and holding them accountable if they are,” said Heather Klisanin, assistant director of housing.

Not all students seem disconnected. Ashley Gonsalves, a University Student Center resident, has experienced the opposite.

“My internet connects quickly within seconds every time,” Gonsalves said.

A direct phone line in case of an emergency or an Ethernet cable creates stronger online connections.

“A wired connection is like being the only car on the highway,” says Reisberg. “Wireless connections today are still shared; when you want to pull out (into traffic) you have to wait your turn.”

The upload speed of a Hewlett-Packard Notebook clocked at 26.03 megabytes per second. After connecting with an Ethernet cord the upload speed jumped to 81.36 megabytes per second.