Why is wireless slowest when everyone needs it?

Why does the wireless not work in the library when there are more people (between 8-11pm) in it? This seems to be when it is slowest or not working at all. During the day, midd_unplugged seems to work the fastest but is slow at that. Why does the library always have such problems with wireless? There are plenty of transmitters/routers mounted around, but I’m looking at a page that has been loading for 7 minutes now, still unsuccessfully. At peak calling hours or during heavy network usage my cell phone does not take a long time to connect via its wireless towers…

From Evan


3 Responses to “Why is wireless slowest when everyone needs it?”

  1. Carrie Macfarlane says:

    The bandwidth of a wireless access point is shared among all current users of that wireless access point. This means that if more people are simultaneously using wireless, each person’s performance will be slower. Further, all users of midd_unplugged are sharing a limited path to the Internet (100M).

    Performance may be faster if you use midd_secure, as we have more bandwidth/infrastructure in place for it. The network architecture that allows unsecured anonymous midd_unplugged users to get to the Internet without unfettered access to campus resources creates a potential bottleneck during heavy use. Midd_unplugged was intended for guests only; we’d prefer that our students, faculty, and staff use the more secure network.

    For best performance, plug in to an ethernet jack. That way, you’ll get a dedicated 100M rather than a fraction of a 10M link.

    We’d like to improve the performance of our wireless, and we will continue to work aggressively to identify and resolve weak signal areas, insufficient capacity, etc. The library is a large, complex environment with reflections and shadows. If people can help us identify dim spots, we can light them up.

    So, select midd_secure or use ethernet jacks, and tell us if you know of an area that seems to have a weak signal. We’ll look into it. And hopefully, you won’t have to wait several minutes for a page to load again.

  2. Carrie Macfarlane says:

    ps – Over the weekend, we made some changes to our network topology that may have improved performance of the midd_unplugged network during times of heavier load. We’ve also added more wireless access points, which should have made both midd_unplugged and midd_secure faster. We are very interested in hearing more feedback.

  3. Carrie Macfarlane says:

    This just in: Dean of LIS Mike Roy says, “We are actively looking into options to improve wireless service; stay tuned!”

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