Blackburn’s Wi-Fi has been absolutely horrible since the start of the semester. It is particularly worse in certain dorms, such as Stoddard and Jewell, and other areas on campus.
Due to COVID-19, many professors have opted to teach their classes remotely. Blackburn even gave students the option to either attend in-person classes on campus, or continue remote learning from their homes. This means the school knew ahead of time that this semester would rely heavily on good Wi-Fi service. However, the Wi-Fi has had poor connection, and it stops working out of nowhere. Blackburn should have prepared ahead of time and upgraded the internet before students even came back. Jason Cloninger stated, “All of the sudden people have gone from using services like browsing the web and downloading files, to using video and voice and all that stuff happens in a very synchronous manner. We’re now very in tune to whether we’re missing a packet because people’s voices drop off or there are camera issues.” Cloninger also recommended that we switch to wired-in internet in our dorm rooms rather than rely on wireless internet.
The poor Wi-Fi connection is unacceptable since most classes are operating remotely. Many classes meet regularly through video chat services such as Zoom or Google Meet. From personal experience, there have been times where I could not connect to an online class meeting with my laptop connected to the internet, and I had to switch to using my phone with satellite data instead of the Wi-Fi.
The students are not the only people affected by the Wi-Fi connection, all aspects of the college are affected by the internet, and faculty and staff are affected as well. The work program is also being affected. Some tutors are working from home and meeting with students through video conferencing. It is difficult to actually meet with each other through video calling if the internet is not functioning to its full capacity.
The internet connection is necessary for this semester, and there is no reason that we should not have better Wi-Fi service. There are plenty of ways to improve the internet service. However, the best ways for Blackburn to improve the internet connection is to purchase more Wi-Fi boosters/extenders. This will strengthen the internet connection. Blackburn has made strides to improve the internet connection by getting a new internet provider on September 17, that will increase bandwidth and reliability.
The internet has been frustrating for everyone these past few weeks, and there is no room for poor internet connection to add to the list of things that we need to worry about this semester.