Karen Lin, Photo Editor
Much to community members’ chagrin, Yale Secure, the University’s wireless network, has experienced “five extended outages” between March 24 and April 8, per an email sent by Information Technology Services to the community.
Senior Director of Foundational Technologies Services Louis Tiseo acknowledged the “disruption” the incidents have caused in the email but invoked an anonymous network “vendor” as the culprit, as well as “human error or a hardware failure in an authentication service.” Tiseo promised that actions were being taken to solve the issue, apologizing to the community for the inconvenience the unexpected outages had caused.
The longest outage left students unable to use Wi-Fi to do homework, log into class or communicate with peers for at least 90 minutes on March 30. The outage occurred in the early afternoon, spanning two separate class periods.
Even beyond the stated outages in the April email, students have anecdotally noted continued Wi-Fi troubles. The News reached out to Yale’s ITS department for comment on the issue and its eventual resolution, but did not receive an immediate response.
With virtual learning serving as a lifeline for students isolating with COVID-19, the reliability and speed of Yale’s wireless network has proven more essential than ever for an equitable educational environment. 202 undergraduates tested positive for COVID-19 during the two weeks of consistent Wi-Fi failures, leaving them unable to Zoom into classes, contact teachers via email or stay in contact with classmates online.
Frances Keohane ’25 was isolating in on-campus housing during the tail end of the outages and experienced interferences to her learning because of them. She said that the Wi-Fi outage caused her and another Arnold Hall peer to miss half an hour of a discussion-based class, which was not recorded.
With Wi-Fi being Keohane’s “only link to the outside world,” the outages proved “disruptive to [her] academic experience and participation,” she said.
As the class Keohane missed did not have additional resources that she could look over in retrospect, she said she is unaware of the conversation she missed during the 30 minutes she was disconnected.
Students who were able to attend in-person classes and who had reliable cell service complained about inconveniences as well.
“It makes doing my work difficult because I never have any connection or communication with others. … It was very harmful to my studying and it made me upset, but I honestly think my Wi-Fi hasn’t gotten any better,” Lila Pechter ‘25 said.“I still feel like I’m constantly having outages, and for some reason my LTE doesn’t even work here.”
She further explained the difficulties associated with Yale’s wireless networks, stating that her devices randomly switched between them. She noted that even in the wake of the stated outages, sometimes none of them work.
Yale has three wireless networks: eduroam, Yale Secure and Yale Guest.