Wireless networks bug out

Students who had trouble getting on Facebook and YouTube this weekend can breathe easy now: Yale’s wireless networks are up and running again.

Inhabitants of all 12 residential colleges and freshmen on Old Campus reported sporadic problems connecting to the Yale wireless networks between roughly 7:00 a.m. Saturday and 7:00 p.m. Sunday, said David Galassi, the director of ITS Network Services. He said the cause of the outages was an error in the wireless system that prevented it from recognizing students’ NetID login information — he said all the problems have now been fully resolved.

“The Student Tech Collaborative received approximately 20 calls and emails from students regarding wireless problems this weekend,” Galassi said. “[The problem] was intermittent across campus.”

Galassi said that, to his knowledge, the issues only affected the YaleSecure network, as Yale Wireless and YaleGuest do not use the same authentication systems involving NetIDs and passwords. But students from each of the 12 residential colleges cited at least one instance in which they could not access the Internet via Yale Wireless, adding that only YaleGuest was functional throughout the weekend.

No one working in Sterling Memorial Library, Bass Library, Master’s Offices or outdoor spaces reported wireless difficulties. Students in Berkeley College commented on the strangely localized problems: the Internet did not work in either of their college’s courtyards, but was still functional on Cross Campus, right in between.

Each of Yale’s wireless networks serves a different purpose. YaleSecure is designed to be the primary wireless network for students, faculty and staff. Because it employs passwords and is encrypted, it is faster and safer to use than Yale’s other networks. Yale Wireless is in place to support old computers and devices that are not capable of using a more advanced, secure wireless connection, and will be retired in the future as such technology phases out of use. YaleGuest is intended for short-term visitors on campus who do not need to access secure Yale resources.

Though students were able access the Internet through YaleGuest during the weekend’s disruption, many complained that the connectivity problems still presented an obstacle to their online activities.

Serena Candelaria ’14 said neither YaleSecure nor Yale Wireless was working for her and her suitemates in Timothy Dwight College, while YaleGuest was noticeably slower than usual. Though she was thankful to have any access at all, Candelaria said she was annoyed by the speed of YaleGuest relative to YaleSecure.

“It’s annoying to have to wait upwards of 30 seconds for a page to load, when I’m used to instant gratification,” she said. “I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live years ago without a fast-speed Internet.”

Using Yale’s guest network also created difficulties for those trying to access the University’s online library resources, which are automatically available through YaleSecure.

“[YaleGuest] is especially inconvenient when you need to use the library’s resources for a research paper and have to log in [with your NetID] before you can see or print anything,” said David Li ’14, who was using his laptop in Pierson College.

The University has gradually added wireless Internet to all dorms and many other facilities since 2007. Over 100 undergraduate and graduate Student Techs provide support to students when networks fail.

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