Recent student-reported problems with wireless connectivity and connection speed have been resolved, David Galassi, the Internet Technology Services director of network services, said Wednesday.
In response to an article published by the News earlier this month revealing student dissatisfaction with wireless, Galassi said ITS Network Services conducted an in-depth analysis of the network and, on April 21, discovered a software bug that had previously gone undetected by network monitors. A software patch was applied to central campus’s network system Friday morning and Galassi said subsequent tests and feedback from the Student Technology Collaborative have shown that the problem no longer exists.
“Since [Friday] we have performed numerous performance tests from various places around campus, including libraries and residential colleges,” Galassi said. “ITS will continue to strive to provide a consistently high-performing wireless network to all buildings on campus.”
After several students reported poor connectivity in Bass Library on ITS’ new online complaint form, Network Services tested network performance in Bass on April 17. They found that wireless performance was indeed slower in the library than elsewhere on campus, and subsequently used Bass as a “test bed” for changes to the system, Galassi said.
Working remotely with engineers from Yale’s wireless provider, Aruba Networks, in California, they subsequently located the problem: a software bug that was preventing buffers in the wireless access points from transmitting data. Galassi explained that under certain conditions — particularly when someone was using certain applications, such as the “Shared Libraries” feature on iTunes, while someone else was trying to log onto the network — the buffer would lock. This continued over time, and some access points eventually lost their capability to provide wireless.
Aruba engineers visited campus April 22 to implement the software patch in the Bass Library Café and reading room, finish the detailed network analysis, and research the specific wireless reports submitted by students. Network Services applied the software patch to the rest of central campus early Friday morning.
Loriann Higashi, the manager of student computing, said her student techs have reported that they have experienced fewer student complaints and an overall positive response to the changes made Friday.
“I’ve asked around, and I haven’t heard too much from people, but the little feedback I’ve gotten has been positive,” Higashi said. “People have found they’ve had less connectivity issues since last Friday morning, and we’ve only had one report of a problem since then.”
She encouraged students to continue reporting any network problems, emphasizing that ITS can only fix issues about which they are notified. In the case of the recent software bug, the problem could only be discovered through individual reports since the monitor could not detect the bug.