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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Students express frustration with unreliable campus Wi-Fi


Students are complaining that the Wi-Fi at Grinnell has been worse than usual. Since the beginning of the school year, students have experienced shoddy connection, slow network speeds and the new and frustrating wireless feature of being taken off the network every time they close their laptops.

Ella Maloney ’23 is irritated by the state of the Wi-Fi. “It’s difficult to turn in my assignments sometimes,” she said. “I’ll have to go to Burling just to send an email.” Maloney lives in Haines Pit, where she said the connection is particularly slow. “I think it’s because we live in a basement.”

However, Elissa Suarez ’23, who also lives in Haines Pit, contests that the wireless network is just as bad plenty of other places on campus. “I have really bad Wi-Fi anywhere that’s not in a building,” she said.

To add to the problem, many Grinnellians have found that they’re booted from the student Wi-Fi and onto the guest Wi-Fi whenever they put their computers to sleep. At this point, Maloney has given up on making the internet work for her. “Eventually I just decided to use Grinnell guest Wi-Fi.”

Andy Kenley ’22 pointed out that the wireless connection can be particularly problematic for fourth-years who are trying to interview for graduate school or for jobs beyond college. Kenley cited the experience of his friend last year, saying, “They would interview with grad schools and … the Wi-Fi would cut out while they were interviewing.”

As for the technical side of things, the facts surrounding the Wi-Fi connection are still a bit spotty. At the College, the Information Technology Services Desk (or ITS) handles all student and faculty technological problems. ITS describes themselves as a “team of professional staff and students [that] is available to help troubleshoot and fix a wide range of issues such as Wi-Fi.”

When contacted by The S&B, Missy Gansen, ITS Marketing and Communications Program Manager, declined to speak with The S&B in person. However, she did send an official statement responding to questions regarding Wi-Fi connectivity. The statement highlights that there are “two Wi-Fi networks available on campus: GrinnellCollege and GrinnellCollegeGuests,” and advises that, “Whenever possible, campus community members should use GrinnellCollege.”

In response to questions about students’ problems with Wi-Fi, Gansen said that the “Technology Services Desk has had very few requests for assistance with Wi-Fi or reports of issues with Wi-Fi from students.”

According to students, however, Wi-Fi connectivity is a recurring issue. “I’m under the impression that it’s a daily [problem], because every day I have to do it,” said Ascher Walker Wilson ’23 regarding their Grinnell College Wi-Fi login. “I don’t know if they’re kicking me out every day, or if it’s like the length of the Wi-Fi is 24 hours or something,” said Wilson.

“[The situation is] really frustrating,” Maloney admitted. “I tried my best the first week here, putting my username in and my password in, and it would work like twice and it wouldn’t work the other times.”

On behalf of ITS, Gansen noted that, “If any student is having a specific problem such as connections dropping or inconsistent or slow connection speeds, Information Technology Services is here to help.”


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