Officials face difficulties strengthening Wi-Fi in apartments

By Susannah Waite, Staff Writer

Old wiring and budget cuts are to blame for a lack of Wi-Fi connectivity in Cokesbury Court Apartments, officials said.

Administrators are aware of the spotty Wi-Fi, said Gerry Hunt, the chief information officer of Campus Technology Services. With budget cuts over the past six consecutive years, money has been unavailable to fix the issues.

“Technology in those buildings are not up to standards,” Hunt said. “There is no easy way to fix it without tearing up the walls.”

Another factor in the Wi-Fi issue is that the university does not own the apartment complex, he said.

Hunt discussed ways to fix issues with the complex’s owners and Dr. Rick Hall, vice president for student affairs.

“Every year, we hear rumblings from residents,” Hunt said. “We would love for it to be resolved, we just need the means to accomplish it.”

Officials want the complex owners to help fund costs, he said.

“We’ve provided several solutions, but they haven’t come forward with any means for funding,” Hunt said.

Antenna access points are set up around campus to provide Wi-Fi connections. Close proximity to an antenna increases connection strength.

Each campus building should have three to five antennas to ensure adequate Wi-Fi coverage, Hunt said. While dorms such as Walker Hall have four antennas per floor for Wi-Fi connections, Cokesbury only has one antenna at the edge of every building.

Ally Hansen, early childhood education sophomore, lives in Building 8 of the apartment complex.

“My OCU Wi-Fi is non-existent,” she said. “I use the ethernet cable, but I find it easier to walk over to the library to do my homework.”

Students with their own wireless devices also affect the strength of signals, but the effects of those are minimal, Hunt said.

A solution to the Wi-Fi issue in Cokesbury involves external cables and antennas, but there is no money in the university’s budget to pay for the fix, he said.

“It doesn’t help with appearance to run cables outside and under awnings, but it would help with connections issues,” Hunt said.

Recent storms, which knocked out Wi-Fi access across campus, exposed another problem with Wi-Fi in Cokesbury—Internet connections that can be more difficult to fix than those in other buildings on campus, said Thomas Shaak, the project manager at email services.

“Because the connections are in students’ rooms, we have to work around their schedules or work with the office to fix the issues,” Shaak said.

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