Elina Shapiro – Contributing Writer
The IT department at UMF plugged along this summer to upgrade the Wi-Fi in the library and several residence halls.
Students at UMF have been pleased with the improved Wi-Fi in the residence halls. “The new Wi-Fi improvements have definitely been a big improvement here in Stone because last year almost every 10 minutes I’d be kicked off from my computer and not be able to do homework,” Amber Chesley, a UMF Sophomore, and Stone Community Assistant said.
The Wi-Fi now works faster and allows buildings full of students to be able to be online at the same time without trouble.
“We’d always complain about it, ‘Oh, there’s someone else on it, oh there’s this horrible Wi-Fi’. This year it’s so much more efficient,” said Chesley. “There has been a significant decrease in complaints about the Wi-Fi here.”
Kelsey Dunn, a senior, said: “With the new renovations, I am finding speed is quicker, so it’s great that I don’t have to worry about the Wi-Fi shutting down and not starting back up.” Dunn mentioned that registration last year was an issue for some people, so she is hopeful that this year will run more smoothly.
Angel Allen, who works for the University of Maine system as a program manager, said that it was widely known that there were problems with the Wi-Fi.
“In 2015, there was a report written that did an assessment of technology needs throughout the University of Maine System. One of the of the needs that were clearly identified was better internet access, specifically better Wi-Fi access for students,” said Allen.
Residence Life does a student survey every year, and in last year’s survey of students there were a lot of comments about Wi-Fi in a bad way, Allen said. “We’re really hopeful that this year’s survey will show improvement.”
Though IT made progress this summer, there is still more work to do.
“The tentative plans are to do the same upgrade for the Scott residence halls next summer,” said Allen. “We didn’t have the capacity to do it all. We were also doing a lot of upgrades on other campuses throughout the summer.”
Allen hopes to extend these renovations across campus. “I think that the classroom buildings on campus all could certainly use the same sort of upgrades. Those are things that if at any point we come into more funding and have that funding – we’d really like to see every building on campus have that kind of internet wireless access,” said Allen. “There were places in the buildings that didn’t have any Wi-Fi coverage. Every nook and cranny in those buildings should have good coverage.”
There were some challenges while completing these Wi-Fi renovations during the summer because the campus was not empty. “We were coordinating around re-waxing the floors, and painting the rooms, and doing other things in the buildings that needed to be done and we didn’t want to get in their way,” said Allen. However, Allen thought everyone worked really well together to let everything go smoothly. “I would say that the residence life, conferences, and facilities management were great partners in this work with IT.”