What is wrong with Wi-Fi on campus?


By Olivia Booth, Staff Writer

If you’ve never stood in the middle of a dorm room, holding your laptop to the ceiling in an effort to connect to eduroam or MASON-SECURE, then you’re probably not a resident Mason student.

Students have long complained of issues connecting to Wi-Fi in dorms, staying connected to the Wi-Fi around campus and trying to use the guest network that simply never works. Charlie Spann, the executive director of strategic business operations in Information Technology Services (ITS), explained why these issues exist and what is being done to address them.

“The demand for Wi-Fi on campus continues to increase as students increase the number of Wi-Fi devices they bring to campus every year,” Spann explained. “We have responded to this increase in demand through a series of Wi-Fi upgrades to the network equipment and software, including the guest wireless registration system.”

One of the most prominent issues for Mason students is the difficulty connecting to Wi-Fi in the residence halls. To tackle this issue, ITS upgraded to a high-density coverage model by moving Wireless Access Points from public spaces to residence hall rooms.

“This approach allows the Wi-Fi signal to cover more area within the building,” Spann said. “We have also increased the visibility of ITS support staff to encourage students to report Wi-Fi issues.”

To improve the network, students should report any issues or complaints directly to the ITS Support Center. The center can be found in Innovation Hall, Room 226, contacted by phone at 703-993-8870, or by email at support@gmu.edu.

Once they receive a request, ITS Resident Technicians can be dispatched to the location and troubleshoot the problem. Students should be prepared with their NetID, MAC address, type of device, location where the issue occurred and other details such as the applications in use at the time. 

Though there are still many issues with Mason’s internet service, ITS has been responsive to areas for improvement.

To support students on the move, we have setup two ‘SWAT’ support stations – one in the Johnson Center and one in Merten Hall.” Spann stated, “In the past year, technicians at the SWAT stations have resolved over 340 reported issues.”

ITS has planned Wi-Fi upgrades this year for Rogers Hall, Whitetop Hall, the Arts and Design Building, Nguyen Engineering Building, Enterprise Hall, Research Hall, and Sandy Creek Parking Offices.

Graphic by Billy Ferguson